Cell biologist Rebecca Rupp: I’m pro-GMO and here’s why

This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

We all know that there are topics that are best to avoid at public dinners. Religion and politics usually top the list because we’ve all seen the awful effect these can have on family Thanksgivings. Increasingly, though, these days, another addition to the to-be-avoided list is the touchy subject of genetically modified organisms (GMOs)—predominately in the form of bioengineered foods. So—I might as well be right up front here—I’m pro-GMO. I think the potential positives greatly outweigh the potential negatives.

To a lot of people, GMOs sound freaky. Unlike traditionally hybridized plants, they’re transgenic—that is, they’re cobbled together using genetic material from sometimes widely disparate organisms. Frankly, this isn’t as odd as all that. Our own genome, the sum total of DNA coding for any one of us, is an evolutionary patchwork of weird foreign genes. Nature continually mixes things up, which is a tried and true survival mechanism.

The vast bulk of reputable evidence currently shows that GM food is healthy and safe and that GM crop plants are productive and able to grow in places where non-GM crops die. I think it’s important to remember that genetic modification–despite a lot of outraged rhetoric to the contrary—is not solely the purview of supposedly unscrupulous corporations out to take over the world. There are researchers who are trying to solve global problems. There’s some real hope for the future here.

By 2050, we’re going to have over nine billion people to feed, and small traditional farms simply aren’t going to be able to do the trick. People are hungry. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water.

Read the full, original article: Rebecca Rupp: I’m Pro-GMO and Here’s Why

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