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Relevance of Genetically Modified Cotton in Australia Explored

The recent report by Drew Kershen that pointed out the the links between the consumption of mouldy insect hurt corn containing mycotoxins such as fumonisin and Neural Tube Deformities in children in Mexico, Chile, and South Africa has lead to the rational suggestion that GM maize expressing the insecticidal Bacillus toxin (or Bt maize) should be marked.

But not with biosafety hazard signs that anti-GM forces would prefer but with a health food mark indicating that by eating Bt maize particularly pregnant women and their unborn children will be protected from spina bifida and other serious neurological afflications that arise from the block in uptake of folate in humans caused by the presence of elevated levels of fumonisin in the food.

This is a message that should please the organisations distributing food in form of maize meal and the recipients of such food aid in subsaharan countries. The Bt maize has proven beneficial health effects on humans in the Americas and in Africa.

Here is some more positive news closer to home. Beef cattle in Australia are being feed GM cotton seed meal and leaves expressing Bt protein which protects the cotton against insect attack and subsequently contain low or no levels of mycotoxins produced by associated fungi.

So the cotton seed meal our feed suppliers are providing our cattle is beneficial to the animals health and in turn to us. Bt cotton thus has beneficial effect not only to the environment because we need to spray less pesticides but also directly on our animals and indirectly on us.

GM is the healthy choice at least when it comes to Bt maize and cotton and will increasingly be the case when health promoting vegetable oils , high in oleic oil and low in transfat oils, from different sources hits our supermarket shelves within the next 12 months.

David Tribe is an expert in molecular genetics, biochemistry (genetic engineering), and infectious diseases. To read more about David, go to gmopundit.blogspot.com gmopundit.blogspot.com

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