September 22, 2006



Biotech mutation of creeping bentgrass
by Jim Hightower

You never want to hear your dentist say, "Oops." But "oops" is also something you never want to hear from biotech scientists who are genetically altering various plant species.

Messing with the very DNA of grains, veggies and other plants is dangerous stuff, for there are many consequences of such corporate-sponsored manipulations. They literally are messing with Mother Nature, creating Franken-species in their labs, with no testing of the long-term impacts on human health or our environment.

So the "oops" that came out of Oregon in August was alarming. A genetically altered grass, with the horror-movie name of "creeping bentgrass," was found growing in the wild. It's not supposed to be there. It has the potential to create super weeds and was supposed to be carefully controlled in a test field. But — oops — it escaped.

Who is behind the development of this mutant? Monsanto Inc. This biotech giant is working with the lawn-chemical outfit called Scotts to create a new grass for golf courses. Why? Because the old grass that Mother Nature makes (Damn her!) will not tolerate enough pesticides. Specifically, Monsanto-Scott wants to spray a herbicide named Roundup on golf greens and fairways to kill weeds, but they need a Franken-grass that won't die along with the weeds.

Did I mention that Monsanto makes Roundup? And guess who'll sell the new, genetically altered, pesticide-absorbing bentgrass? Right — Scotts. So, for nothing more urgent than creating a Roundup-tolerant grass for golf courses so Monsanto and Scott can fatten their profits — we have a biotech "oops moment."

Since these corporations can't control their genetically altered spawn, their selfish, profit-driven experiments pose an ecological threat to all of us. To help stop biotech greed from ravaging Mother Nature, call the Organic Consumers Association at 218-226-4164.

Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of Let’s Stop Beating Around the Bush, on sale from Viking Press. For more information, visit www.jimhightower.com


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