Begun in 2008, it's unlikely that I'll regularly make entries to this blog, so do check my main site at

This blog is more likely to include posts of a political nature - and one that requires sisu on the part of many!

Archives dated prior to March 2008 are entries moved across from either LiveJournal or Octant.

Recent Posts


Are Asian nuns being used as guinea pigs for genetically modified food-stuff?

[originally published in my Octant, issue 1, December 2005, Simply two areas of concern – the first on genetic engineering; and the second on basically using the gay community as a scape-goat for sexual harassment of minors by a small number of those within Catholic orders.]

Genetically modified rice?

Radio can be quite informative at times, and of international note it Australia’s own ABC Radio National. No doubts about it, the presenters thereon provide interesting discussions and a wealth of digestible materials… and some not so appetising.

Of note is a report about some ‘super-rice’ being cultivated in various parts of the world. The rice has been modified to include supposed greater nutritional content by having as part of its makeup a higher proportion of iron – or so it appears from the report. In this case, however, is ‘biofortification’ another name for ‘genetically modified’?

On a surface level, the research and impulse gives the appearance of altruistic farming practice. In any case, whether altruistic or not, it would also be of apparent benefit if one of the world’s most consumed cereal was also ‘improved’, whether in terms of yield or other. The long term costs of introducing genetically modified organisms continues to however be brushed aside.

For many of us there are questions that simply have not been properly addressed by those engaged in various ‘research’ practices. Some of these are long term irreversible consequences on crops, others are ethical issues that, whilst meeting any stipulated self-enumerated ethical checklists, simply miss the core.

Of deep concern is also the use of nuns in convents to ‘test’ the product. I can understand the logistics of the testing: iron levels are unlikely to be affected by pregnancy, diets are common and hence iron levels able to be tested against another group of nuns who eat normal rice, and any side-effects presumably easily detected. Also, given the unlikely pregnancy just mentioned, any side-effects would also not be passed on to the human gene pool.

Of course, even mentioning this last shows one aspect that, even were it to be desirable to have genetically modified rice, would not be able to be properly ascertained until the food became available to others not in this rather narrow category. The ‘biofortified’ rice may of course not be genetically modified, but simply achieved through a selective breeding programme.

Also of great concern, and I must admit my immediate reaction, is whether it is even fair to ask a group of women who have as part of their obligation submission and obeisance to ‘submit’ to such food tests. Surely this could only take place with the specific approval by their ‘superior’ (whether Mother superior or Bishop), and the question could there be asked as to whether this implies that the Catholic Church (if Catholic it be) has given its unofficial approval to genetically modified food.


You must be logged in to post a comment.