Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Because science has its ‘wow’ factors!

LAST month we launched a new-look The Petri Dish – with a refreshingly new masthead, layout and font types. This breezy new look is accompanied this month by the introduction of a special pull-out –  SCOPE.
So now, The Petri Dish comes in 20 full-colour pages. This is 67% increase in the number of pages since The Petri Dish was first launched in Feb 2011.
The SCOPE will feature the “wow” factors of science exploring the Why, What, When, Where, Who and How of Science. This is our offering to a wider range of readers, especially the school going intelligentsia and  younger readers to get them into the world of science.
We hope to have your continued support to bring science to the schools in a fun and breezy way. Share with us mind-blowing facts that you stumble upon and want others to know about it. Together let us make science infectious and enjoyable.
The latest statistics on the Global Status of Biotech/GM Crops was just released by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agribiotech Applications (ISAAA). We bring that to you in this issue. See lead story in the front page and in pages 6 &7.
To date there are 18 million farmers commercially growing 181.5 million hectares of biotech/GM crops in 28 countries. What drives this technology is the reduced use of chemical pesticides by 37%, increase in crop yield by 22 % and increase in farmer profits by 68%.
Three new crops approved in 2014 were Bt brinjal in Bangladesh (resistant against brinjal fruit borer), drought –tolerant sugar cane in Indonesia and potato in the USA with reduced acrylamide content when deep fried and resistant to browning upon peeling. 
The Bt brinjal and drought-tolerant sugar cane are products of public sector, much to the contrary of claims by anti-GM NGOs that GM crops are monopolised by big industry players. These are fruits of sheer determination and political will and evidence that developing countries can take the lead too.
Wishing all our Chinese readers, advertisers and subscribers a very prosperous Chinese New Year as the Year of the Goat bleats into 2015.    

By Dr Mahaletchumy Arujanan

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