Grist: Does the “little difference” between GE and traditional breeding matter?

| July 24, 2013
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The GMO morning glory (left) was created using CRISPR gene-editing that affected the pigmentation production of the plant
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Anti-GMO: We know we are making double-stranded DNA with GM. We don’t know that it’s happening frequently in nature. So we should be more careful.

Pro-GMO: Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t, and it almost certainly doesn’t matter. We’re almost certainly impervious.

Anti-GMO: But maybe it does — and if so, hoo-boy, we’ll all be sorry!

Rise above the details of my imaginary debate for a moment to notice the ground each side has staked out as a presumptive starting place. You have one side that sees humans as fragile and dependent on maintaining the nurturing environment in which they evolved. The other sees humans as tough survivors of a fundamentally chaotic environment.

Read the full story here: Genetic engineering: Do the differences make a difference?

Additional Resources:
Read the rest of Nathanael Johnson’s ongoings series reconsidering genetic engineering at Grist below, and look for future installments to be featured on the GLP:

  1. The genetically modified food debate: Where do we begin?
  2. The GM safety dance: What’s rule and what’s real
  3. Genetic engineering vs. natural breeding: What’s the difference?

Read GLP founder Jon Entine’s reaction to Johnson’s series here:

The GLP featured this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. The viewpoint is the author’s own. The GLP’s goal is to stimulate constructive discourse on challenging science issues.

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