Yes, we have many solutions

by Luigi Guarino on January 11, 2013

IITA has a pretty nice video out about controlling Banana Xanthomonas Wilt via genetic modification.

Now, don’t jump to any conclusions, I have nothing against genetic modification of banana. In fact, if you’re going to use genetic modification on anything, bananas should be right up there. No chance of that pesky transgene escaping into the wild, for a start. Although I would like to know how they’re planning to engineer resistance into the dozens of varieties that are important in East Africa. Wait, you mean they’re not going to do that? Just a few, eh?

Well, anyway. My main point is that the video gives no hint at all that, as far as BXW control is concerned at any rate, there are other, perfectly viable, options. And IITA knows this, because it has been involved in the development of a pretty effective, multi-faceted, low-cost, integrated, sustainable strategy for control. One that doesn’t involve the threat of reducing the diversity of the crop.

Of course, it would help if there were similarly nice videos about that. There are factsheets galore, true. Lots of factsheets. But videos? Well, maybe you can get them to work. And anyway they don’t really seem to be aimed at the general audience so clearly targeted by IITA’s vid. How can we make the case that there are occasionally more appropriate, sustainable solutions than GMOs when we can’t even win the battle of the videos?

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