When I think of gm plants I think of Monsanto’s terminator seeds which are designed to genetically switch off a plant’s ability to germinate a second time. Obviously, this is devestating for farmers who rely on saving seeds for next year’s harvest as they’re instead forced to *buy* genetically altered seeds each year. It’s the ultimate theft – I can’t believe this has been allowed to happen.
So I’m happy to report a decent use of biotechnology – flowers that can detect landmines.
Some background: I’ve been working with a local Toronto record label called Ohm Grown Records and they’re closely associated with a German non-profit called MGM (People Against Landmines). On Friday I was at the Ohm Grown headquarters where we were busily putting the final touches on some grant applications for a tour they’re embarking on in the fall called the Nature of Hope tour.
Both the tour and MGM are dedicated to raising awareness and funds to clear all landmines in Africa. It’s an important issue I’m learning.
On Friday the folks at Ohm Grown told me about these explosive detecting flowers and I’ve been thinking about them all weekend. It’s good news!
“The genetically modified weed has been coded to change color when its roots come in contact with nitrogen-dioxide, or NO2, evaporating from explosives buried in soil.
Within three to six weeks from being sowed over landmine infested areas the small plant, a Thale Cress, will turn a warning red whenever close to a landmine.
According to data compiled by Aresa, more than 100 million landmines have been spread out in 45 countries, hidden killers that often remain for years after a conflict is over.”
Info on the company and the project’s development (with pics): Aresa Biodetection