One of the fears about genetically modified organisms (GMO) is the possibility of contamination and weakening of the genetic material of traditional grains used for commercial cropping.
My principal fear has always been that GMOs would make their way into grasses and go on to weaken the genetic robustness of both wild and cultivated varieties.
The death of grass is one possibility for a continent such as Australia if things go badly wrong (after all the country has a history of introduced biological controls getting out of hand and introduced plants/animals overwhelming native habitat/populations).
Australia has moved one step closer to being vulnerable to this scenario, with limited GM Canola crops due for harvest next month and the consideration of licenses to test plant:
The Office of the Gene Technology Regulator is also considering a license for GM Torenia, a flowing creeper which has only been commercially available here for about 5 years but which has already become a non-indigenous weed in parts of Africa, USA and Asia.
Of further concern is the test plot application for GM Sugarcane in Burdekin, Caboolture, Hitchinbrook, Cairns, Bunderberg and Mackay areas of Queensland, along with further GM Cotton plots in Narrabri, NSW and Balranald, Bourke, Central Darling, Carathool, Coonamble, Hay, Lachlan, Lake Tandou, Moree Plains, Narrabri, Narromine, Walgett and Warren; Queensland shires of Balonne, Brisbane, Chinchilla, Jondaryan, Murilla, Paroo, Pittsworth, Tara, Toowoomba, Waggamba and Wambo; and the Western Australia shire of Wyndham-East Kimberley.
Unsurprisingly, amongst the named applicants are GM seed giants, Monsanto and Bayer.
Some of these limited GMO release applications are listed as having been open to submissions to OGTR before consent is granted.
Now I didn't see any newspaper advertisements notifying these applications - did you?
Given the importance of sugar crops to parts of the NSW Northern Rivers, it is time we all became more vigilant concerning the introduction of genetically modified material into Australia.
P.S. A little light reading for 'Mr. Monsanto'.