Disposing of GMOs

The rice we grow in one of my lab's greenhouses.
The rice we grow in one of my lab’s greenhouses.

Yesterday I was working out at the greenhouse for my rice genetics lab.

I was getting rid of some old rice plants that we’d collected the seed from and no longer needed.

If a plant got to this point in a garden you’d normally throw it in the compost so it would be useful next year.

That’s not allowed for the rice we work with in my lab because it is an untested transgenic line.

Some members of the public dislike altering the genetics of food crops to create genetically modified organisms (GMOs). There are a couple of logical reasons for this and a couple of illogical ones.

Logical reasons include: religious objection, lack of crop diversification, cross-species allergens, and the strengthening of agribusiness monopolies that often accompanies GMO crop use.

Illogical reasons often have something to do with safety or not knowing what is in a product when you purchase it at the grocery store.

I could go on about this a lot. GMOs are a complex topic with a lot of ground to cover, but that wasn’t why I was writing this post today.

Because of the fear of GMOs, they need to go through extensive testing before they are declared legally safe. This testing can take up to ten years.

We don’t do that for every strain of modified rice in our lab, so certain precautions need to be taken.

Yesterday I cut off all the excess seeds on the old rice plants. The seeds go into a plastic bag.

The seed bag and the leftover portion you can see above both go into an orange dumpster at the center of the greenhouse complex.

All the stuff in the orange dumpster then goes into a special oven that ensures the modified crops won’t somehow get into the wild and start growing there.

After the special oven, called an autoclave, has destroyed the genetic material in the rice it can go into a normal dumpster or be used for compost.

Just another little glimpse at my job!

-Mister Ed

How I Drink Water

The nutrition facts and ingredients on a fruit punch Gatorade bottle.
The nutrition facts and ingredients on a fruit punch Gatorade bottle.

I like to drink water out of Vitamin Water and Gatorade bottles.

They hold a lot of water and the top is perfect for drinking without that “Glug-Glug” noise or spilling.

I can cap them for taking on hikes and their shape is just right for fitting in my back pocket.

I reuse the bottles. I only buy a new one when I lose an old one or when one melts in the dishwasher.

I keep a few of the bottles around my house and fill one up whenever I’m thirsty (often).

While on my vacation in Sacramento I left one of my bottles in the hotel room while I was at the festival.

When I came back my bottle was gone! The cleaning staff had removed the bottle when they changed the sheets, thinking it was trash!

The cleaning staff had the further audacity to think that the money I left on my desk was a tip and leave a tip envelope! (That was sarcasm. Hard to convey on the internet, I know).

I tipped them and gave up the bottle as lost forever.

I needed a new one though! I got the one pictured above today!

I took a picture of the ingredients label specifically because I noticed something new.

Gatorade previously had corn syrup in it. Now it just has sugar!

I am allergic to corn. It makes me itch a lot.

I love Gatorade though. I used to drink it all the time, but I would suffer for it.

And now I don’t need to!

I foresee a fridge filled with Gatorade soon.

-Mister Ed