So what’s the takeaway of all this? Before I finished up my conversation with Margaret Smith [a plant breeder at Cornell], I asked her if there might be some evolutionary wisdom in the way genetic material gets swapped during normal reproduction that was fundamentally different than techniques of genetic engineering. We don’t know of any, she said. But she added:
“I think we need to be thoughtful, and as we learn more we need to continue to think about this carefully. We’re learning more every day — just look at the revolution in epigenetics — and that could change the way we approach this. But my message on this is that we shouldn’t just stop because there are unknowns. Every technology has unknowns. We just have to be as thoughtful as we can.”
Read the full story here: Genetic engineering vs. natural breeding: What’s the difference?
Here are the other stories in Johnson’s Grist series reevaluating genetic engineering.