"Frankenfood" Controversy Spawns World's First Gene-Spliced Plant Character in "Rustle the Leaf" Environmental Comics

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Rustle the Leaf Environmental Comics has introduced the first-ever genetically-modified (GMO) plant comic strip character: a slightly creepy corn stalk named "GEEMO."

GO NATUR’L STUDIOS, LLC., Danbury, CT—Citing growing concerns about potential environmental and health risks from food-related use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) -- often referred to as "Frankenfood" -- the creators of "Rustle the Leaf" environmental comics have introduced a GMO corn plant named "GEEMO" to the strip’s already quirky cast.

According to Rustle the Leaf creator and co-writer Dave Ponce, there are some disturbing realities expressed in the look and personality of the new character. "Like other genetically modified plants, 'GEEMO' seems fairly normal," says Ponce, "however, we've created him with a sort of robotic personality to connote his spliced-and-cloned pedigree, and thrown in a slight hint of schizophrenia. It's a reflection of concerns about potential latent, long term side-effects of using GMOs in the environment and in consumer food products," says Ponce.

Especially troubling to Ponce and his co-writer (the strip's artist) Dan Wright is the lack of consumer awareness for the whole issue. "There’s been a concerted effort to keep consumers in the dark," says Ponce. "Most consumers are unaware that over 50% of the processed foods in grocery stores right now, including breakfast cereal for children, include genetically modified plant ingredients. In Europe and Japan, labeling foods that contain GMO ingredients is required, but not in the U.S. And it’s no accident; it's the result of sustained, well-funded lobbying efforts by those who profit from the sale of GMO technologies and end-use products," says Ponce.

Ponce and Wright believe the introduction of their GEEMO character helps create awareness and causes the issue to "stick." "That's the great thing about comics," says Ponce. "People remember a punch line longer than they’d ever remember a bullet point from a report." Ponce says that GEEMO will not be a regular cast member, but will make appearances as GMO issues arise. The strip’s main characters are a leaf (Rustle), an acorn sprout (Rooty), a Dandelion seed (Dandy), and a drop of water (Paige).

Rustle the Leaf is a nationally distributed environmental comic strip, which has received widespread acclaim from environmentalists, educators and members of the scientific community. The comics appear weekly at http://www.rustletheleaf.com.

For more information, contact Dave Ponce at dgponce at earthlink.net or at (317) 508-5068.

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