retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

I don't read Popular Science very much, but one MNB user who does sent me a story about a new strain of rice that - go figure - helps fight global warming.

According to the story, the planet's rice paddies "produce as much as 17 percent of the world’s total methane emissions." That's not good.

So, the story says, "Christer Jansson, a plant biochemist at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, spent the past 10 years developing SUSIBA2, a genetically modified rice plant that emits almost no methane. Splicing a single barley gene into common rice, his team found, changed the way the plant handles photosynthesis: Instead of sending carbon to the roots, to feed the bacteria that produce methane, the plant directs it toward the grain and leaves, increasing the starch level and yield."

Wow. Not only am I impressed by all that information, but the degree to which I don't understand it makes me wish I'd taken some sort of science class since 1971, which was the last time I was in a science classroom.

Of course, it also raises the labeling issue ... but if I see rice that says, "genetically modified to fight global warming," I'm buying it.

That's what I call an Eye-Opener.

P.S. What's the over/under on when someone points to this week's snowstorm in the eastern US as proof positive that the world isn't really getting warmer? Just asking...
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