Article by Lorraine Chow
This did not work so well the first time around…
Scotts Miracle-Gro Company is developing another variety of GMO grass that’s engineered to withstand applications of glyphosate…
Scotts Miracle-Gro is developing yet another variety of genetically modified (GMO) grass that’s engineered to withstand applications of glyphosate, the controversial main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller.
This latest effort follows Scotts’s first fiasco with GMO turf. In 1997, the lawn care company teamed up with Monsanto to create GMO grass for golf courses. Unfortunately, their bio-enhanced creeping bentgrass escaped from field trials into the Oregon wild in 2003, thus eliminating any chance of federal approval for commercial use, as the New York Times reported in 2006.
Scotts was fined $500,000 for the incident but their lab-grown grass is still found in parts of Oregon, and has sparked concerns from local residents and organic livestock farmers who are worried that the hard-to-eradicate grass could invade pastures or contaminate non-GMO hay or grain fields.
According to Forbes, trials are already underway for Scotts’s latest Roundup Ready grass that grows at half the speed of conventional grass. The company hopes the novel grass will enter the market in three years. As the publication detailed:[Scotts Miracle-Gro CEO Jim Hagedorn] and his team leveraging unpatented gene research to create new kinds of turf. Using technology previously developed by a scientist at Cornell, Scotts is mechanically implanting genes into crop varieties, instead of using agrobacterium. That means Scotts scientists can now develop new grasses without going through the standard USDA regulatory process.