Scientists Unlock Self-Fertilizing Crops
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  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    This has been the holy grail of agricultural science for decades, and I hope news of “N-Fix” doesn’t turn out to be some cold fusion or global warming type hoax.
    What are the environmentalists going to do now? They have been trying to stop genetically engineered crops for decades, now comes the ultimate Frankencrop, and any farmer that fails to use it, will be driven out of business paying for fertilizer.

    • Honk

      It is not even GMO, that is the amazing thing.

      • Andrew Allison

        “Professor Edward Cocking, Director of The University of Nottingham’s Centre for Crop Nitrogen Fixation, has developed a unique method of putting nitrogen-fixing bacteria into the cells of plant roots.”

        • Honk

          They are not GMO. They are natural bacteria.

          • Andrew Allison

            The release clearly states: ” . . . putting nitrogen-fixing bacteria INTO the cells of plant roots.” Aside from which, there’s no such thing as a non-GMO; evolution and hybridization are results of gene modification.

          • Kimmy84

            So GMO is the same as evolution. What is wrong with it then? And see my post to you above about how wrong you are about the process.

          • Andrew Allison

            There’s absolutely nothing wrong with GMO — as I wrote, every organism is genetically modified. Intracellular bacterial colonization enabling plants to fix atmospheric nitrogen appears to me to be close enough.

          • Kimmy84

            Since you approve, you might want to address your other error:

            ” In other words, like legumes, these GMOs are fixing nitrogen in the soil, not in the air.”

          • Honk

            The release also says that the bacteria are natural and not the result of GM. Not that I care, but it will slow down the ecofreaks.

  • Honk

    I heard about this weeks ago.

  • Andrew Allison

    This post would have been more informative had it pointed out that the breakthrough consists of inserting nitrogen-fixing bacteria into the cells of plant roots.In other words, like legumes, these GMOs are fixing nitrogen in the soil, not in the air.

    • Kimmy84

      There’s no genetic modification going on here. They’ve isolated a strain of bacteria that they coat a seed with. When the seed germinates, the bacteria enter through the roots into the entire plant, allowing nitrogen fixation.

      • Andrew Allison

        The word used was inserting, not coating, but thanks for pointing out that it is all the cells of the plant that are modified, thereby enabling atmospheric fixation.

        • Kimmy84

          There are many reports on this study. I looked at as many as I could so as to clarify some of the issues this article didn’t cover.

  • teapartydoc

    How many times does Malthus have to be disproved?

    • Kimmy84

      That’s the ‘beauty’ of Malthusian thought, he will always be right “next time”.

      I’ve read the comments at other stories on this, and there’s always a number of “this makes me nervous” or “this is a bad idea”. All based on feelings.

      Nope, Tommy will always be with us.

      • f1b0nacc1

        Just like his good friend Karl

  • Keapon Laffin

    Feeding the world is very nice indeed.

    Think of the other implications. Nitrogen fertilizer is explosive or can easily be made into explosive compounds.
    This would make it harder for terrorists to do bad things.
    Also, ecological changes. Most likely benefits. Crops will no longer remove nitrates from the soil. Like legumes they may even put nitrates into the soil. Either way, there is more nitrogen available for other life. I’m sure it’ll make the earthworms happy but also opens an easier path to creating rich soil, then exporting it to barren lands.
    The press release didn’t mention if they did, or did not, try it on non-crop plants. Want to try rebuilding a clear-cut rain forest?
    Lemurs live in rain forests, right? And they’re fun to watch. We all need more lemurs.

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