Who do you trust in the debate over genetically modified crops and foods?
In the discussion of transgenic crops, the most outspoken opponents of GMO technology, usually aligned with anti-GMO advocacy groups like Greenpeace, Union of Concerned Scientists or Center for Food Safety, portray themselves as genetic experts and selfless public servants working for the good of society, pure as snow. On the other hand, scientists speaking in favor of the technology are usually ignored, as reporters "balance" their stories by juxtaposing advocacy scientists with industry spokespeople. In fact, the overwhelming majority of biotechnology experts support crop innovations and have no industry connections, yet are portrayed as corporate-owned shills who publish have some unstated vested interest in subverting the public interest.
What do the facts show?
The Genetic Literacy Project has made an interactive infographic that compares the experts—the leading and most vocal opponents of GMOs versus the most visible and widely quoted independent defenders of the technology. The table below looks at their appointments, scientific records and public/private financial ties.
The analysis is eye opening. It shows that those tending to favor the technology are typically actively publishing and paid as public scientists whereas those opposing GMOS usually have had no direct training in this specialty and are mostly compensated privately, profiting by their activism. Scientists active in the pro-GMO camp tend to have completely independent scientific careers and use education about transgenic crops as part of their scholarly outreach. This is not true of those aligned against the technology.
If you hover your mouse over the name of any of the experts, an information box pops up with the picture and background of the person. You can draw your own judgements about who are the most experienced, trained, independent and trustworthy experts.
This graphic in jpg form can be downloaded here.