India’s Moratorium on Transgenic Eggplant, Science of a Shootout
This week: We’re focusing this episode on the role of genetically modified (GM) crops in increasing food security around the world. You’ll hear two experts – one Indian and one American – talk about India’s decision to temporarily reject a GM eggplant variety. And we’ll continue the conversation about genetic engineering and its potential role in increasing global food security on The World Science Forum. Also, the World’s Alex Gallafent explains the science of a shootout. And Elsa Youngsteadt talks about her favorite music to listen to while doing science.
Science of a Shootout: It’s a standard feature of old Hollywood westerns - a shootout between a good guy and a bad guy. The bad guy reaches for his gun first, and he loses. But why does he lose? Now there’s a scientific explanation. Sort of.
Report by: The World’s Alex Gallafent.
India’s Decision on Bt Brinjal: The Indian government this week placed a moratorium on a new transgenic variety of eggplant, or brinjal (as it’s called in India). The eggplant contains a gene that produces a toxin (known as Bt, named after the bacteria it comes from) that kills certain pests. The company that developed the crop variety says it can boost yields and reduce pesticide use. But the Indian government is calling for long-term tests to ensure the eggplant doesn’t endanger human health or the environment. I spoke with Indian scientist Pushpa Bhargava about India’s decision to conduct independent tests on the crop. Bhargava was chosen by the Indian Supreme Court to evaluate data on the crop.
And Marco Werman spoke about the eggplant controversy with biologist and author Lisa Weasel. She’s a professor of biology at Portland State University and the author of Food Fray: Inside the Controversy over Genetically Modified Food.
Guests: Pushpa Bhargava and Lisa Weasel.
The World Science Forum.
Science Magazine‘s special issue on tacking global food security.
Music in Science: Elsa Youngsteadt edits science news for the professional society Sima Xi. A few years ago she was studying chemical communication in ants. What music did she listen to as she sat in her lab mounting dead ants on pins? Find out in this week’s podcast.
Produced by: Elsa Youngsteadt
Note from Elsa: Here’s a link to the band, Les Croquants. (Sorry about my pronunciation there…) The song was “Accordeon.”