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Amaranth Plants Are Now Succeeding Where GMO Activists Are Failing – They Are Resisting Monsanto’s Glyphosate

Nature has a funny way of always coming on top and the Amaranth plant is a perfect example. All anti-GMO activism has led to little resistance against the powerful lobbyists at Monsanto and their dominion over government policy. But Amaranth is showing the biotech giant you can’t mess with nature without consequences.

A Superstar of the Plant Kingdom

The Amaranth is a plant well known to our ancestors, since the Incas considered it a sacred plant. Ancient amaranth grains were cultivated on a large scale in ancient Mexico, Guatemala, and Peru. In a 1977 article in Science, amaranth was described as “the crop of the future.”

Approximately 60 species are recognized and each plant produces about 12,000 seeds per year, with the leaves containing an abundance of vitamins and minerals. It has been proposed as an inexpensive native crop that could be cultivated by indigenous people in rural areas for several reasons:

  1. It is easily harvested.
  2. Its seeds are a good source of protein. Compared to other grains, amaranth is unusually rich in the essential amino acid lysine and some dieticians have argued that amaranth protein in higher than that of cow’s milk and far richer than soy.
  3. The seeds of Amaranthus species contain about thirty percent more protein than cereals like rice, sorghum and rye.
  4. It is easy to cook. As befits its weedy life history, amaranth grains grow very rapidly and their large seedheads can weigh up to 1 kilogram and contain a half-million seeds in three species of amaranth.

Amaranth Is Fighting the GMO Battle Like No Other

Besides the incredible nutritional benefits which nature has bestowed upon the human race with Amaranth, it appears it also knows how to fight GMO manipulation.

Studies began documenting weed resistance several years ago but the problem continues to mount, with The New York Times warning of the “Rise of the Superweeds” analogous to that of the ‘superbugs’ in medicine. But nature only does what its designed to do.

Kept as a very secretive incident, in 2004 the first farmers noticed that some of amaranth seedlings were resistant to Monsanto’s Roundup ready technology as they generously generously sprayed their soybean plants.

It turns out the amaranth seed received a resistance gene for Roundup.

Since then, the phenomenon has spread to other states: South Carolina, and northern Arkansas, Missouri and  Tennessee.

“There’s no question, we have a lot of problems in the Southeast,” York said. “For us, the horse is already out of the barn. For the Mid-South, you don’t want to go down this path we’re on right now.”

On July 25, 2005, the Guardian published an article by Paul Brown, who revealed that the modified genes were passed to the natural plants, creating a seed resistant to herbicides.

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