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GMOs not any riskier than modern traditional breeding methods

| | August 8, 2014
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

“Traditional breeding methods” for crops have actually changed a lot over time — they haven’t just remained static for 10,000 years. And GMOs don’t appear to be any riskier than some of these modern conventional techniques that go largely unregulated.

A good example of this is what’s known as “mutation breeding” or “radiation breeding.” Ever since the 1920s, scientists have been exposing seeds to ionizing radiation or chemicals in order to induce random mutations. 

This is considered a “conventional” breeding technique — it’s not regulated the way GMO foods are, which is why companies like BASF and Monsanto are turning toward it. But mutation breeding obviously hasn’t been around for 10,000 years, either.

The National Research Council has noted that, if anything, mutation breeding has a higher risk of producing unintended effects than genetic engineering does — it’s even riskier than transferring, say, bacterial DNA into a plant genome.

Read the full, original article: “Traditional crop breeding” isn’t nearly as traditional as you think

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