Jul 29, 2014
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“Accidental or Purposeful Mixing” of Seed Likely Source of GM Wheat: Monsanto

“Accidental or Purposeful Mixing” of Seed Likely Source of GM Wheat: Monsanto

Monsanto Company today hosted a conference call to outline what is known and yet to be determined regarding the reported finding of Roundup Ready wheat plants in an Oregon, U.S., field.

The company has published a 13-page presentation, seen here, to outline exactly what is known, what testing has been done and what testing will continue to happen in the coming weeks. International trading partners, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and members of the EU, have all been provided with a gene-specific test and DNA material to use as a control, according to Robb Fraley, chief technology officer with Monsanto.

So far, 60% of the parent material (foundation lines) of the commercial varieties in Oregon have been tested for the CP4/MON71800 gene event. All lines have tested negative. The company says it will continue testing all parent lines.

After careful consideration of the fact trail, the company’s conclusion at this point is the winter wheat plants found in a chem fallow field arrived there through “accidental or purposeful mixing of seed.”

Fraley notes that all possible scenarios will be investigated, thought the company has yet to receive actual plant material from the field to test. The USDA continues its own research into the finding. Monsanto will continue to test commercial lines, and confirms, as does the USDA, that no commercial shipments have been found to contain the event. USDA also notes there is no safety risk to human or animal health.

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One comment

  1. I would be interested to know how the volunteer was distributed within the field. Was it scattered throughout the field, or in a strip or band through the field? This would give an indication of how the seed was mixed. In a strip or band, it was probably contained in 1 or more bags of seed. If it was scattered throughout the field, it is more likely that the mixture occurred before the seed was bagged. But that would also increase the likelihood of seed contaminating more fields. Either scenario could be accidental. But if it was only in this one field, that increases the chance that it was intentional, by my reasoning. It would take a lot of seed to contaminate more than one field, even to the 1% level. Depending on seeding rate, it would take 1-2 bags worth of 50lb commercial seed bags to plant 1 solid acre. A combine could spread the seed some, and normal yield would have a multiplicative effect, but most would be harvested, and it took close to a bag or more of seed to give that many volunteer plants.

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