America's rice farmers didn't want to grow a genetically engineered crop. Their customers in Europe did not want to buy it. So how did it end up in our food?.......
The LSU rice-breeding station is run by a man named Steve Linscombe, one of the most admired men in the U.S. rice industry. Linscombe, who is 52, has devoted his entire career to developing rice-seed varieties that improve yields and resist pests or herbicides. "He has put millions of dollars into the pockets of rice farmers," says Darryl Little, the Arkansas regulator. "He's a premier breeder."
Because Linscombe understood the risks of mixing transgenic rice seed with conventional varieties, he took extra precautions when working with Liberty Link. To prevent pollen or stray kernels of rice from migrating, USDA rules recommend at least a ten-foot buffer zone around transgenic field tests. LSU's contract with Bayer called for a 30-foot isolation zone. Linscombe created buffer zones of at least 120 feet. Until now, no one thought rice pollen could travel that far.
"I did as much isolation as I possibly could," Linscombe said. So what happened? "I have been dealing with this for nine months, and I still can't give you a definitive answer," he said. Wilson, the University of Arkansas rice specialist, says, "I think we've learned some things about rice, biologically, that we didn't know before."
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Black Swan: Attack of the mutant rice
Black Swan is a large-impact, hard-to-predict, and rare event beyond the realm of normal expectations. Understanding Black Swan event e.g. the attack of mutant rice is crucial for the becoming a better investor.