A tornado in Canada cut through fields filled with genetically modified canola plants. ?The tornado actually picked up the canola plants and actually wrapped them around these trees,? says farmer Vic Martens. The seeds from that crop were blown into other canola fields up to 6 ? miles away, raising new concerns about the uncontrolled spread of genetically modified seeds.
Brian Ellis, a professor of plant biotechnology, says the problem needs to be studied. ?This is something the regulators never even thought of. It just goes to show that you can?t control something once you get it out into real nature,? he says.
Ellis is afraid that the same will happen with strains of GM wheat currently being tested in secret locations. The Canadian Wheat Board has already said it won?t sell GM contaminated wheat because of health concerns in foreign markets.
GM canola hasn?t met the same opposition, but the patented seeds pose legal problems for farmers. Percy Schmeiser was sued by Monsanto when GM canola showed up in his field near Saskatoon. He argues that there is no way to control where GM seeds end up. ?One of my neighbors had a twister. It picked up seed in his field and my field and took it for four miles,? he says.
Monsanto holds the patent on the GM canola. They say that anyone with unwanted canola plants can ask to have them pulled out in the spring, if they don?t die during the winter.
Prediction: Within five years, companies like Monsanto will have joined the asbestos manufacturers in bankruptcy and the rest of us will be struggling to clean up an uncleanable world.
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