Access to maps of biotech crops on a county and township level will give researchers greater ability to analyze the effects of biotech crops on wildlife, water quality, and on pest and beneficial insects.
"Since 1996 more than a billion acres have been planted with biotech crops in the U.S.," said Michelle Marvier of Santa Clara University in Calif. "We don't really know what are the pros and cons of this important new agricultural technology."
"People on both sides of the debate about genetically engineered crops have been making a lot of claims," said Marvier, an associate professor of biology and environmental studies. "One side has been saying that biotech crops reduce insecticide use, reduce tillage and therefore the erosion of top soil. People on the other side say that biotech crops could hurt native species."
The scientists' call will be published as a Policy Forum in the April 25, 2008, issue of the journal Science. Marvier's co-authors are Yves Carrière and Bruce Tabashnik of The University of Arizona in Tucson; Norman Ellstrand of the University of California at Riverside; Paul Gepts of the University of California at Davis; Peter Kareiva of Santa Clara University and The Nature Conservancy; Emma Rosi-Marshall of Loyola University in Chicago; and L. LaReesa Wolfenbarger of the University of Nebraska in Omaha.
The article, Harvesting Data from Genetically Engineered Crops, has a map showing the distribution of crop fields in Arizona township by township.
Tabashnik, UA professor of entomology and head of the department, said, "Putting Arizona's biotech cotton on the map has allowed us to be a leader in assessing the environmental impacts of biotech crops."
The collaboration has been going on more than a decade.
Tabashnik said, "It's a win-win situation. We analyze data they collect, so they can control pests better and make more money. It helps us obtain fundamental information about what's going on in the field that we could never get without them."
One of the UA's analyses showed that adoption of biotech cotton in Arizona helped to reduce insecticide use while sustaining yields.
Carrière, a UA professor of entomology who has done many of the analyses, said, "You have to protect the privacy of the farmers. We've done it in Arizona, so why not do it across the country?"
To start examining those questions in other parts of the U.S., the team of scientists calls for the government to make available data it is already collecting.
At the present time, the team writes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture collects data at the scale of individual farms, but the data are only available to researchers at the scale of entire states. Answering key questions about the environmental impacts of genetically engineered crops requires finer spatial resolution.
"The analyses could be about quality of water, quality of soil, non-target effects, regional population density of pests and economic aspects such as yield improvement," Carrière said. "The findings could be useful to a wide range of people."
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistical Service annually collects data documenting acreage planted to various crops in all 50 states, the researchers write in their paper. In addition, the NASS annually interviews more than 125,000 farmers about their land use and the acreage planted in various biotech crops.
Tabashnik said, "We're already spending the money to have these data collected. Let's make them available in the right format for researchers to use. It would be a relatively inexpensive additional step with enormous scientific and public benefit."Lead author:
Mari N. Jensen | The University of Arizona
Energy crop production on conservation lands may not boost greenhouse gases
13.03.2017 | Penn State
How nature creates forest diversity
07.03.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine
30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine
30.03.2017 | Medical Engineering