Viewpoint: Crop biotech advocates should stop pushing organic industry to embrace gene editing

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Anti-CRISPR political groups protest in Europe

Farming is not nature; we learn from nature and use that knowledge to produce the goods that we need. Farmers plant 160,000 bean plants on a hectare. In nature, this would never happen …. Nature would make sure that seeds are shed and spread widely.

It appears that people do not have this concept in mind when they speak about certain breeding methods as ‘unnatural’. This is commonly followed by the argument that because of that lack of naturalness, such breeding methods or their products should be avoided or at best be strictly and extensively regulated.

How to discuss gene editing policies with such individuals? Rational arguments about safety and legal arguments …. are irrelevant in such discussions. Questioning the basic assumptions is not accepted.

Related article:  Gene editing could help make vertical farming a viable tool in the battle against global hunger

Even if we don’t share such views, we may have to respect them. We can stress though that such ethical principles are highly personal and that we could expect respect for the steward-views as well. The result should then be that when the …. organic sector is welcome to avoid (products of) such techniques because of such worldviews, they should in return not vote against the use by the conventional sector that may hold different views.

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