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'time bomb' for world wheat crop

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posted on Jun, 14 2009 @ 09:15 PM
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The Ug99 fungus, called stem rust, could wipe out more than 80% of the world's wheat as it spreads from Africa, scientists fear. The race is on to breed resistant plants before it reaches the U.S.

Crop scientists fear the Ug99 fungus could wipe out more than 80% of worldwide wheat crops as it spreads from eastern Africa. It has already jumped the Red Sea and traveled as far as Iran. Experts say it is poised to enter the breadbasket of northern India and Pakistan, and the wind will inevitably carry it to Russia, China and even North America -- if it doesn't hitch a ride with people first.

"It's a time bomb," said Jim Peterson, a professor of wheat breeding and genetics at Oregon State University in Corvallis. "It moves in the air, it can move in clothing on an airplane. We know it's going to be here. It's a matter of how long it's going to take."


Though most Americans have never heard of it, Ug99 -- a type of fungus called stem rust because it produces reddish-brown flakes on plant stalks -- is the No. 1 threat to the world's most widely grown crop.

The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in Mexico estimates that 19% of the world's wheat, which provides food for 1 billion people in Asia and Africa, is in imminent danger. American plant breeders say $10 billion worth of wheat would be destroyed if the fungus suddenly made its way to U.S. fields.

Fear that the fungus will cause widespread damage has caused short-term price spikes on world wheat markets. Famine has been averted thus far, but experts say it's only a matter of time.

"A significant humanitarian crisis is inevitable," said Rick Ward, the coordinator of the Durable Rust Resistance in Wheat project at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.



More at source
www.latimes.com...

I've been asked to edit this in terms of adding "comments" so the thread doesn't get trashed...as far as I'm concerned the article speaks for itself, but apparently that's not allowed around these parts. So my comments are as follows: 1) This is a bad situation. 2) We are long overdue for a major global blight. 3) Genetic manipulation of crops makes them more vulnerable by reducing genetic diversity (see post below). 4) False alarms and "crying wolf" have occurred along these lines before so people don't pay as much attention to such things as they should.



[edit on 6/14/09 by silent thunder]




posted on Jun, 14 2009 @ 09:32 PM
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reply to post by silent thunder
 


Hmm.. one could imagine an "accidental" release in the US spurring a call for all wheat and corn to be genetically engineered with a resistance. This wheat and corn would only be available from big commercial seed companies, of course. Oh, and it's sterile, so you can't grow new plants from the seeds, meaning you would have to buy again from the seed company every year.

*sigh* why can't people let nature take it's course... or maybe find crops that survived infection and figure out why.



posted on Jun, 14 2009 @ 09:48 PM
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The genetically modified crops are the most vulnerable of all because they are so genetically uniform...the right disease could slice through that stuff like butter.

Look at the average wheatfield before genetically modified crops: lots of genetic diversity. Even serious lights and other crop illnesses would rarely kill every single plant because the variety = roubustness. Now the potential exists for a single disease to wipe out 100% of a given field if it hits the right hammer on the head, because the plants are essentially genetically identical.

Its a lesson we're likely to learn the hard way one of these years.



posted on Jun, 14 2009 @ 10:17 PM
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reply to post by silent thunder
 


I agree. The same could be said about custom hybrid crops that are being planted. One could call them primitive GM crops, I suppose, since the GM was done through controlled selective breeding rather than direct genetic manipulation.

Hmm.. side note: Does anyone think that the drop in General Motors car sales might be partly due to the negative connotation of GM in people's minds due to GM crops? Just thinking..



posted on Jun, 15 2009 @ 01:35 AM
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Originally posted by silent thunder
The genetically modified crops are the most vulnerable of all because they are so genetically uniform...the right disease could slice through that stuff like butter.



very true, but these people won't let facts get in the way of business. facts are just used, never respected and omitted or forged if it suits their needs.


your observation is critically important, because there have been calls for a 'new green revolution' in the past.


Green Revolution.



To American biologist Robert Zeigler, the request underscores two global problems: rapidly depleting grain stockpiles, and the need for a new Green Revolution to satisfy food demand that is forecast to jump 50 percent by 2025


it'S obvious that the track record of GM crops is something they simply ignore if they can get away with it. to show you what i mean, i'll quote myself, for brevity's sake:

www.abovetopsecret.com...



t's not like GM crops were a new development and they still don't get the real underlying issue, which is the destruction of fertile soil. all else is really secondary when you think about it.

here's a list of several threads over the years, if anyone is interested - by no means complete !

Argentina's Bitter Harvest - GM crops turned sour

GM or Not to GM, Which?

Food for Thought

Monsanto GM crop fails in South Africa

The GM genocide: Thousands of Indian farmers are committing suicide after using genetically modified

GM Crops and the Coming Famine

2009 Will Be Year of Global Food Crisis

and last, but not least, related:

Soil Depletion & Micronutrient Deficiency

will these people pretend they didn't know, when there's more than a decade of experience with these things and their consequences? it's all about buying time, as i said, they do not adress the really pressing issues. while you are at it search for Codex Alimentarius on this site and see how it fits in.



plant breeding using selected samples may be en vogue but the real method involves breeding the whole population, which is more time consuming, of course and much less controllable. people who practice traditional rice farming, for example, are of course better off, since their crops are both resistant and well adapted to their climate and are thereofre having a more robust yield.

PS: why were the Iraqi seed banks destroyed following the invasion? why were these varieties even outlawed? Thread



posted on Jun, 15 2009 @ 01:43 AM
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The way crop circles are going all the wheat will be flattened anyhow.

Can you GM wheat against crop circles?



posted on Jun, 15 2009 @ 04:53 AM
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off-topic post removed to prevent thread-drift


 



posted on Jun, 15 2009 @ 02:42 PM
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reply to post by smashenator
 


Crop Circles are childish pranks by adults who should know better. I don't know how you could get more off topic than that.

This fungus however could lead to the deaths of hundreds of millions of innocent people.

Record Wheat Production for the World Predicted

The IGC April Grain Market Report confirms that the outlook for the next wheat crop looks favourable in most major producing countries. The IGC forecasts world wheat production to reach 645m tons in the 2008/09 season, up from 604m tons in 2007/08.


A 90% loss would mean the removal of 580.5 million tons of an important food source from the worlds supply. That equates to the deaths of huge numbers of people.

I'd say this is far more disturbing than the possibility of getting a mild case of the Swine Flu and yet this is the first I've seen it mentioned.

Article From Cereal Disease Laboratory

New virulence in East Africa

In a nursery in Uganda, Africa in 1999, susceptible type stem rust pustules (collection designated Ug99) were found on wheat lines known to have the stem rust resistance gene Sr31, a gene for which no virulence had been reported previously anywhere in the world.


Gates Foundation Awards Cornell $26.8 Million

Cornell has been awarded a $26.8 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to launch a broad-based global partnership to combat stem rust, a deadly wheat disease that poses a serious threat to global food security.

Wheat, which is one of the world's primary food staples, accounts for about 30 percent of the world's production of grain crops.


Apparently this is old news and this has been tracked since January 2007. It has spread to Yemen following the path predicted for it to follow.

The Wiki Article on This Topic

This has been brewing since 1999 apparently so if an article like this is hitting the MSM then it must be nearing the boiling point. I'm glad to see Gates took it seriously. If this gets out of control, we had better learn to grow rice in old wheat fields.

Link to ATS thread on this topic from 2007.

[edit on 6/15/2009 by Blaine91555]



posted on Jun, 15 2009 @ 02:48 PM
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Apparently they are making progress on this - Source Article


Scientists announce progress on Ug99 resistant varieties (03/27/09)

Wheat researchers announced progress this week toward the production of new types of high-yielding wheat containing multiple minor genes that have resistance to Ug99, a virulent stem rust to which 90 percent of wheat varieties are susceptible.


Sounds like they are getting close.



posted on Jun, 15 2009 @ 02:59 PM
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hisz.rsoe.hu...

I was following the migration of this disease last year on the site linked above. This is a wonderful site that all ATSers should be familiar with.

The disease will certainly get to N. America and Europe over the next couple of years, and sooner if it can hitch a ride on our international travellers.

GM resistance is certainly going to be demanded and sold. It is extremely difficult to find crops without GM these days!



posted on Jun, 16 2009 @ 09:34 AM
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Originally posted by Blaine91555
[
This has been brewing since 1999 apparently so if an article like this is hitting the MSM then it must be nearing the boiling point. I'm glad to see Gates took it seriously. If this gets out of control, we had better learn to grow rice in old wheat fields.


i think you got that wrong:


Originally posted by Blaine91555
Apparently they are making progress on this - Source Article


Scientists announce progress on Ug99 resistant varieties (03/27/09)

Wheat researchers announced progress this week toward the production of new types of high-yielding wheat containing multiple minor genes that have resistance to Ug99, a virulent stem rust to which 90 percent of wheat varieties are susceptible.


Sounds like they are getting close.


as you said, they are getting there and have reasonable cause to believe large scale infestation and loss can be averted. iow, they will only tell you things that are either irrelevant or do not (or no longer, like in this case) pose a serious problem.

Media == Entertainment.


i sincerely hope these resistant varieties aren't GM crops, if they were, they'd have a field day forcing ionto everyone, obviously, no matter how many normally bred alternatives there may be. if 10% survive, they should be used to breed new stock, that'S the way it has been done forever. today, it's top-down, especially for GMOs. no feedback from the field....

[edit on 2009.6.16 by Long Lance]



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