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Rogue Weedkiller Vapors Are Threatening Soybean Science

Dicamba drift is threatening soybean science

Something strange is happening to Pengyin Chen's soybean experiments at the University of Missouri's Fisher Delta Research Center in Portageville, Mo.

"You see how small they are?" says Chen, gesturing at a field filled with thousands of small plots of soybeans.

The leaves ought to be wide and flat; instead, they're curled into cups. Instead of growing straight up, the plants are putting out fragile little side branches. Chen pulls a plant out of the soil to show me. "This plant is not supposed to have a branch there," he says, pointing.

Chen, a professor of soybean breeding and genetics, has a pretty good idea what's going on. He's seen this damage each of the past three years, ever since farmers all around this research station — and across the country — started planting a different version of soybeans. The biotech company Monsanto had genetically modified these new soybeans so that they tolerate a herbicide called dicamba. It allows farmers to spray dicamba on their soybeans; it kills the weeds, but their dicamba-tolerant crop is fine.

TVNL Comment: The weedkiller is destroying more than soy plants.  It's killing people by causing non-Hodgkins lymphoma.  Monsanto has paid millions to people who have proved the connection between their weedkiller and cancer.  Still, it's allowed to be used on farms across the nation.  Wonder why.


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