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eBook Lowdown on GMOs: What it’s like not to know anything about GMOs

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

This article is adapted from the chapter “On What It’s Like Not To Know Squat about GMOs” from the ebook “The Lowdown on GMOs: According to Science,” compiled by Fourat Janabi for

Recently, a “ground-breaking” study by Gilles-Éric Séralini used by anti-GMO activists as “convincing evidence” of harm caused by genetically-engineered corn, was deep-sixed by the very journal that published it, Food and Chemical Toxicology.

I raised a glass of home-brewed hard cider and said “Salut!” to self-correcting science.

Changing my mind about GMOs has been easy. All it took was learning that the Humulin my Type-1 diabetic spouse takes every day to keep himself alive is a GMO.

When most people think of GMOs, they think of food. A freshman seminar I once taught at University of Southern Maine concerns how we laypeople should view claims about food we see in the media. I introduce the subject of genetically modified organisms by typing “GMO images” into a search engine. The results are hilarious.

I ask the students which images they see most represented on the screen. Immediately they say, “Hypodermic needles.”

Related article:  Seralini paper to blame for Kenya's GMO ban

There they are, sticking out of tomatoes like porcupine quills. I ask them how the hypodermic needle is employed in the creation of genetically modified organisms. Silence.

“It isn’t,” I tell them.

The Séralini fiasco tells us that when someone performs a bad “study,” smart people will sometimes be bamboozled by it – including the good folks at the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology.

And if they could be fooled, what about the rest of us?

I hope my students go out into the world with the awareness that we humans are built to believe, not to disbelieve; that it’s our life’s work to decide which beliefs to accept, which to discard; and that it won’t be easy.

Bad beliefs are like fishhooks: easy to swallow, difficult to cough up. It can be done, though.

Read the full, original article: Mike Bendzela is skeptical about the GMO skeptics

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