Saturday, April 02, 2011

Vaccine Scare Redux…

We all know how the scare about the supposed link between vaccines and autism started, an unethical doctor manipulated evidence and made unsupported claims which caused a panic.

That scenario looks to be playing out again in the US, only this time it is genetically modified crops that are the target:

Now, despite mountains of research to the contrary, one soil scientist is roiling the agricultural world with claims that there might be some truth to the farmer's unease. [ed. a belief that genetically modified crops and plant food / herbicides may be behind Sudden Death Syndrome]

Don M. Huber, an emeritus professor at Purdue University who has done research for Monsanto on chemical herbicides, alleges that he has found a link between genetically modified crops and crop diseases and infertility in livestock: an "unknown organism" he and other researchers claim to have discovered last summer in Midwestern fields like Friedrichsen's.

Soybeans are a major crop and a threat to them should be taken seriously – If the person who has discovered the threat has any credibility.  Unfortunately this guy appears to be a crank in the who is drawing lessons from both the anti-vaccine and global warming crowds.  Refusing to release data and names of scientific collaborators and raising concerns based on questionable data:

An official from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and researchers at Iowa State University have tried since last fall to get access to plant samples, but to no avail. Instead, Huber and his team have opted to talk to the media — rather than fellow scientists, said Robin Pruisner, entomologist for the Iowa agriculture department.

"They're telling these horror stories with nothing to back it up," Pruisner said. "We're arguing about something we can't see and they won't let us see."

So now we get to spend years and probably millions of dollars dealing with more junk science.  A plus is that the anti-gm crowd will probably get some Senator to introduce a bill outlawing the manufacture and sale of the seeds, until the questions are settled (which they never will be), and millions of people will be put at risk of starvation.

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