GMOs and the American Chestnut: Risky Business?

How far out on a limb would you go to bring back an icon of the American forest?

First, a Look at GMOs

Genetically modified organisms or GMOs can engender strong passions and stimulate spirited debate; at least they do in my family. Whenever we get together and the subject comes up, a lively discussion ensues, sometimes erupts, between my kids (well, kids to me even though they’re on the other side of 30) and me. To them, GMOs are plain bad.

The long-practiced art of artificial selection is one thing; but creating a transgenic organism by tinkering with its genetic makeup is, in their minds at least, something else entirely. Something that could unleash a vegetative (see here, here, here and here) or animalistic (see here, here, here, here and here) Frankenstein that could wreak havoc on the environment and possibly our food. Theirs is a sort of “Don’t mess with Mother Nature” imperative.

Besides, they continue, look what the Big Ag companies are doing with GMO technology. Producing strains of crops that allow farmers to use huge quantities of pesticides that poison the environment (see video) and our food and in the end only speed the evolution of pesticide-resistant superweeds (see here, here, here and here) and pests. (They can also turn the small farmer and the subsistence farmer into farmers with a bunch of dead crops, as this film about Peruvian farmers documents.

To me, the issue is not so black and white. We have been genetically engineering crops for millennia, albeit not using modern molecular biology but by crossbreeding and artificial selection. The methods may be different, but the result is much the same: an organism whose genetic makeup has been altered by humans to suit human needs.

Read the full post here: GMOs and the American Chestnut: Risky Business

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
can you boost your immune system to prevent coronavirus spread x

Video: How to boost your immune system to guard against COVID and other illnesses

Scientists have recently developed ways to measure your immune age. Fortunately, it turns out your immune age can go down ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
gmo corn field x

Do GMO Bt (insect-resistant) crops pose a threat to human health or the environment?

Bt is a bacterium found organically in the soil. It is extremely effective in repelling or killing target insects but ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend