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Lecture to Oxford Farming Conference, 3 January 2013

Lecture to Oxford Farming Conference, 3 January 2013
[Comments are now closed - it was getting impossible to manage them given the volume.] Chinese translation… Italian translation… German translation… Spanish translation… French translation… Vietnamese translation (shortened)… Italian version (also shortened) Thai version and Slovak version. NEW – Portuguese translation. 07 Mark Lynas from Oxford Farming Conference on Vimeo. I want to start with some apologies. For the record, here and upfront, I apologise for having spent several years ripping up GM crops. As an environmentalist, and someone who believes that everyone in this world has a right to a healthy and nutritious diet of their choosing, I could not have chosen a more counter-productive path. So I guess you’ll be wondering – what happened between 1995 and now that made me not only change my mind but come here and admit it? When I first heard about Monsanto’s GM soya I knew exactly what I thought. This was also explicitly an anti-science movement. So I did some reading.

Silver bullet or Frankenstein? 5 februari 2013 - The potential of synthetic biology seems limitless, ranging from vaccinations to the solution to the world’s energy problem. However, it could also become a threat when not dealt with correctly. Synthetic biology: the design and construction of biological devices and systems for useful purposes, is a scientific field of growing importance. Therefore the Rathenau institute organized a seminar to show the stunning variety of this field’s possibilities. The Rathenau institute pleads that politicians and civil society should join the discussion on the future of synthetic biology as soon as possible for an optimal development of this promising field. At the moment the discussion on safety, security and ethics is solely held within the scientific community. Synthetic biology is not only able to create vaccinations or medical treatments to for example, malaria. Solution to energy problem? The full potential of synthetic biology is still unknown.

Mark Lynas, environmentalist who opposed GMOs, admits he was wrong. Photo by NIGEL TREBLIN/AFP/Getty Images If you fear genetically modified food, you may have Mark Lynas to thank. By his own reckoning, British environmentalist helped spur the anti-GMO movement in the mid-‘90s, arguing as recently at 2008 that big corporations’ selfish greed would threaten the health of both people and the Earth. Torie Bosch is the editor of Future Tense, a project of Slate, the New America Foundation, and Arizona State that looks at the implications of new technologies. But Lynas has changed his mind—and he’s not being quiet about it. I want to start with some apologies. As an environmentalist, and someone who believes that everyone in this world has a right to a healthy and nutritious diet of their choosing, I could not have chosen a more counter-productive path. So I guess you’ll be wondering—what happened between 1995 and now that made me not only change my mind but come here and admit it? I can’t think of another environmentalist.

EFSA Press Release: EFSA publishes initial review on GM maize and herbicide study Press Release 4 October 2012 The European Food Safety Authority has concluded that a recent paper raising concerns about the potential toxicity of genetically modified (GM) maize NK603 and of a herbicide containing glyphosate is of insufficient scientific quality to be considered as valid for risk assessment. EFSA’s initial review found that the design, reporting and analysis of the study, as outlined in the paper, are inadequate. To enable the fullest understanding of the study the Authority has invited authors Séralini et al to share key additional information. Such shortcomings mean that EFSA is presently unable to regard the authors’ conclusions as scientifically sound. Therefore, based on the information published by the authors, EFSA does not see a need to re-examine its previous safety evaluation of maize NK603 nor to consider these findings in the ongoing assessment of glyphosate. EFSA’s preliminary review issued today is the first step in a two-stage process. Notes to editors:

Farmer's Fight With Monsanto Reaches The Supreme Court : The Salt hide captionVernon Hugh Bowman lives outside the small town of Sandborn, Ind. Dan Charles/NPR This week, the Supreme Court will take up a classic David-and-Goliath case. On one side, there's a 75-year-old farmer in Indiana named Vernon Hugh Bowman; on the other, the agribusiness giant Monsanto. The farmer is fighting the long reach of Monsanto's patents on seeds — but he's up against more than just Monsanto. Bowman also is battling a historic shift that's transformed the nation's seed business over the past 20 years. Despite all that, Bowman seems remarkably cheerful about his situation. Bowman is leaning back in an easy chair, where he says he also sleeps at night. Out back, there's an array of old farm equipment collected during decades of growing corn and soybeans. Bowman is wearing a Monsanto hat. "It made things so much simpler and better. hide captionBowman bought ordinary soybeans from this small grain elevator and used them for seed. Those late-season soybeans are risky.

Veredelaar kan ecologisch risico van gmo’s minimaliseren Wilde sla, vermeld in een oud apothekersboek D e ecologische risicoanalyse is vaste prik voor toelating van nieuwe gm-gewassen. De hamvraag daarbij is of het ingebrachte gen in het gm-gewas kan uitkruisen naar wilde planten en die planten zoveel voordelen biedt dat het natuurlijke ecosysteem wordt beïnvloed. De Wageningse aio Brigitte Uwimana testte dit uit door gecultiveerde en wilde slasoorten te kruisen en de nakomelingen enkele keren te kruisen met wilde slasoorten. Wil dat stukje genoom zich blijvend vestigen in het genoom van de wilde sla, dan moet er een fitness-voordeel zijn. De test met de sla - overigens geen gmo - wees uit dat je ‘sterke' en ‘zwakke' plekken kunt aanwijzen op het genoom en dat je daar rekening mee kunt houden bij genetische modificatie, zegt Smulders.

Money Replaces Willpower In Programs Promoting Weight Loss : Shots - Health News Hide caption Peggy Renzi (middle) talks with her teammates Erika Hersey (left) and Erica Webster. The three are part of a team of nurses in the Bowie Health Center emergency room in Bowie, Md., who are working together to lose weight. Gabriella Demczuk /NPR Hide caption Teammates (from left) Erica Webster, Peggy Renzi, Erika Hersey, Quan Harper and Nyuma Harrison entered a national weight loss contest in hopes of winning $10,000. Hide caption Nyuma Harrison photographs the groceries she purchased. Sticking to a diet is a challenge for many people, but starting next year, Americans may have an even bigger, financial incentive to keep their weight in check. Some employers, inspired in part by the success of shows like The Biggest Loser, are already designing weight-loss programs that use money to succeed where willpower has failed. For Peggy Renzi and her colleagues at Bowie Health Center in Bowie, Md., the war against weight is waged in the emergency room where they work.

'Hergebruik DNA maakt overheid onbetrouwbaar' | AMSTERDAM - Het wetsvoorstel om medisch verkregen DNA-materiaal ook voor strafzaken te gebruiken, maakt de overheid onbetrouwbaar. Wetenschappelijk medisch onderzoek kan daardoor in gevaar komen. Dat stelt Ben van Ommen, programmadirecteur systeembiologie en principal scientist bij TNO. Hij reageert op het wetsvoorstel dat vrijdag uitlekte, waarin staat dat het voor justitie mogelijk moet worden om DNA-materiaal op te eisen uit de zorg. Volgens Van Ommen zijn er twee discussies die nu met elkaar verbonden worden. Deze discussie wordt volgens hem grondig, langdurig en goed gevoerd, en is goed wettelijk geregeld, met volledig respect voor anonimiteit van de donor. Tweede discussie De tweede discussie gaat over vrijwillig of niet afstaan van DNA voor forensisch onderzoek. "Het is legitiem dat beide discussies gevoerd worden, maar je mag ze niet zomaar vermengen", betoogt hij. Wantrouwen is ernstig voor burger en wetenschap. Terughoudender "Het kwaad is nu al voor een deel geschied.

In Many Families, Exercise Is By Appointment Only : Shots - Health News hide captionHenry Condes, 7, practices shooting a basketball. His mother, Yvonne, spends most afternoons ferrying her two boys from one sporting activity to another. David Gilkey/NPR Henry Condes, 7, practices shooting a basketball. Most families know that their kids need to exercise. Take Yvonne Condes of Los Angeles: It falls on her, like many parents across the country, to make sure her kids get enough exercise every day. On a typical day, Condes picks up her two boys — Alec, 9, and Henry, 7 — from school then begins her daily trek to sports practices. And, because Condes lives in Los Angeles where traffic is a huge problem, shuttling her kids back and forth can take five minutes or 25. Condes is a runner and recognizes the importance of daily exercise. As for just going outside to play in the neighborhood, well, that's not really an option, she says. "My younger son just started to ride his bike a lot. hide captionYvonne Condes helps her son Alec get ready for baseball practice.

17-10-2012 Studenten maken versheidsverklikker Colofon Unifocus is het periodiek (circa 30 maal per jaar) verschijnend online videomagazine van de Rijksuniversiteit Groningen waarin nieuwswaardigheden op het gebied van onderwijs, onderzoek, en valorisatie worden gepresenteerd. Redactie Afdeling Communicatie Rijksuniversiteit Groningen: Riepko Buikema, Bo Oud-van der Pers, Eelco Salverda, Nyckle Swierstra (hoofdredacteur) Creatief concept, videoproductie en realisatie Scripta Communicatie Concept en techniek streaming media Vertaling en ondertitelingUniversitaire Vertaal- en Correctiedienst, Talencentrum Rijksuniversiteit Groningen Contact Postadres: Postbus 72, 9700 AB Groningen Bezoekadres: afdeling Communicatie, Oude Boteringestraat 44, Groningen E-mail: Telefoon: +31 50 363 4444 Disclaimer

In A Grain Of Golden Rice, A World Of Controversy Over GMO Foods : The Salt hide captionGenetically modified to be enriched with beta-carotene, golden rice grains (left) are a deep yellow. At right, white rice grains. Isagani Serrano/International Rice Research Institute Genetically modified to be enriched with beta-carotene, golden rice grains (left) are a deep yellow. At right, white rice grains. There's a kind of rice growing in some test plots in the Philippines that's unlike any rice ever seen before. Millions of people in Asia and Africa don't get enough of this vital nutrient, so this rice has become the symbol of an idea: that genetically engineered crops can be a tool to improve the lives of the poor. It's a statement that rouses emotions and sets off fierce arguments. But before we get to that debate, and the role that golden rice plays in it, let's travel back in time to golden rice's origins. It began with a conversation in 1984. The science of biotechnology was in its infancy at this point. They went around the room. "Yellow endosperm," said Jennings.

Op naar het WK synthetische biologie Welke student wordt wereldkampioen synthetische biologie? In oktober vindt op de VU de voorronde plaats van de iGEM-competitie, het WK synthetische biologie voor studenten. Twee computerdeskundigen van het Amsterdamse team vertellen over hun voorbereidingen. Matias Mendeville (25, links op foto) en Maarten Slagter (24) maken sinds mei werkweken van zestig uur. Synthetische biologen gebruiken genetisch materiaal voor het ontwerpen van nieuwe biologische systemen. Biologische geheugenmodule iGEM wordt georganiseerd door het Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Rolverdeling Maarten en Matias maken computermodellen die aangeven of een experiment daadwerkelijk kan gaan werken. Sponsoren werven MIT levert de studententeams biobricks. Een soort hiphop De synthetische biologie is een vakgebied dat erg vatbaar is voor ethische vraagstukken. iGEM moedigt de studenten aan het debat met het publiek aan te gaan. De studenten omschrijven het iGEM-project als een ontdekkingstocht.

Why we love to run "Daddy, where are you going?" my son asked me recently as I was lacing up my running shoes on a cold, wet Sunday morning. "Running," I said. "Why?" he asked. He's only three. The truth is, just before you run is the worst possible moment to try to explain to someone, or even to yourself, why you run. Often people say to me they can run if they're chasing a ball, but to just run, nothing else, just one foot in front of the other, well, they find it too boring. Of course, some people run to lose weight, or to get fit, and these are great reasons. But for many of those two million runners, the real reason we head out to pound the roads until our legs hurt is more intangible than weight loss or fitness. Many runners become obsessed with times. A runner I know last year trained with intense dedication with the goal of running a marathon in less than three hours. "I'm actually glad," he said. "Why do we do this to ourselves!" Running brings us joy. This will to run is innate.

Glowing Plants: Awesome Kickstarter or Creepy Biotech? If you're like me, the concept of synthetic biology—the application of engineering techniques to the building blocks of life—is pretty hard to get your head around. I get synthesizing, say, material to make clothes out of. But synthesizing new life forms? Hoping to give new meaning to the term "natural light," a small group of biotechnology hobbyists and entrepreneurs has started a project to develop plants that glow, potentially leading the way for trees that can replace electric street lamps and potted flowers luminous enough to read by. What could be more innocuous than plants that generate useful light? And they're not financing the project by tapping Wall Street or big banks, but rather the democratic cash-raising method of our age par excellence, the Kickstarter campaign. What could possibly go wrong? I can't think of a better source for examining the promise and perils of synbio than this much-cited 2007 essay by the eminent physicist—and climate change skeptic—Freeman Dyson.