In pursuit of sustainability, shoppers are reaching for the organic apple or the GMO-free chips. But if we truly want to reach that goal, on our next trip to the farmers’ market or grocery store, we should consider reaching for the genetically modified tomato or wheat instead.
How do we move forward when so many of us are paralyzed by the pro- and anti-GMO movements? To say that GMOs provide the only avenue toward sustainability is woefully wrong. The same can be said for organic farming. Where either of these methods falls short, the other can be there to lend a hand.
Genetically modified organisms can preserve the environment and build an economy for future generations.
[R]esearchers are able to alter the DNA of certain crops to minimize destruction by viruses, fungus and pests. This approach is being applied to preserve the banana from extinction and ensure continued growth of cacao plants, and it has already helped save a Hawaiian papaya. Unfortunately, pests and disease aren’t the only concerns.
Ensuring the health and well-being of future generations will require a combination of organic and GMO foods. We all desire sustainability, but creative compromise and mutual trust will help us reach our goal.
Editor's note: Kevin Doxzen is a science communications specialist at the Innovative Genomics Institute and a biophysics PhD student at the University of California - Berkeley.
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