GMO breeding: Years of practice but still divisive

| | December 1, 2014
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Proponents and critics of genetic modification (GM) have been arguing over the potential impact of genetically modified organisms (GMO) on health and the environment for more than a decade now.

Genetic engineering can manipulate the DNA of crops to switch off existing traits or add new ones in ways that were not possible before.

Proponents argue that genetic engineering has been at work long enough without reports of health or environmental risks. They say the process undergoes rigorous testing and is more precise and more sustainable.

Opponents say the biotech industry’s safety tests are self-motivated and lack oversight. They argue that in addition to concerns over long-term health issues, the environmental impact of GM farming is already evident.

TECHtonics reached out to two experts from each side of the debate to get a glimpse of where some of these issues stand today: C.S. Prakash, Professor of Plant Molecular Genetics at Tuskegee University and Ricardo Salvador, Director of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Related article:  Columbia Journalism Review: Anti-GMO group's records request threatens independent research

Biotech, argues Prakash, has “far more answers and far more ways to answer about the consequences of food developed from GM technology compared to conventional.”

With conventional breeding, he says “we absolutely had no idea what we were doing and what were the consequences of that. And yet we went ahead.”

Nevertheless, going conventional or GM is a matter of preference – and precision, says Prakash.

Salvador says, “the … issue that concerns us the most is the environmental impact that results from the fact that this is a technology that enables and accelerates intensive agriculture, and particularly the kind of agriculture that generates a lot of environmental damage,” he said.

Read full, original article: GM Foods Still Controversial After All These Years

Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
a a b b a f ac a

Video: Death by COVID: The projected grim toll in historical context

The latest statistics, as of July 10, show COVID-19-related deaths in U.S. are just under 1,000 per day nationally, which is ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
types of oak trees

Infographic: Power of evolution? How oak trees came to dominate North American forests

Over the course of some 56 million years, oaks, which all belong to the genus Quercus, evolved from a single undifferentiated ...
biotechnology worker x

Can GMOs rescue threatened plants and crops?

Some scientists and ecologists argue that humans are in the midst of an "extinction crisis" — the sixth wave of ...
food globe x

Are GMOs necessary to feed the world?

Experts estimate that agricultural production needs to roughly double in the coming decades. How can that be achieved? ...
eating gmo corn on the cob x

Are GMOs safe?

In 2015, 15 scientists and activists issued a statement, "No Scientific consensus on GMO safety," in the journal Environmental Sciences ...
Screen Shot at PM

Charles Benbrook: Agricultural economist and consultant for the organic industry and anti-biotechnology advocacy groups

Independent scientists rip Benbrook's co-authored commentary in New England Journal calling for reassessment of dangers of all GMO crops and herbicides ...
Screen Shot at PM

ETC Group: ‘Extreme’ biotechnology critic campaigns against synthetic biology and other forms of ‘extreme genetic engineering’

The ETC Group is an international environmental non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Canada whose stated purpose is to monitor "the impact of emerging technologies and ...
Share via
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend