Food & Agriculture Feature

The GLP explores the role of genetic engineering in food production and the polarized debate surrounding it. We highlight the work of our own writers, as well as that of contributors from around the Web. The GLP does not take a position on genetics-related issues; any opinions expressed belong to the authors.

Categories include:

  • Chemicals and pesticides
  • Organics
  • Conventional crops
  • New breeding technologies
  • Animal biotechnology
  • Food systems
  • Sustainability
  • Regulations
  • Politics
  • Ideology
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Viewpoint: Why GMO crops are planet's best ecological choice

Viewpoint: Why GMO crops are planet’s best ecological choice

Future crops will need to withstand conditions like climate change, low water availability, rising soil salinity, and attacks by pathogens ...
Is organic farming sustainable? 5 carbon footprint challenges

Is organic farming sustainable? 5 carbon footprint challenges

Along with unsubstantiated claims of better nutrition and safety, supporters of organic farming often cite its lower carbon footprint as ...
Viewpoint: Former US journalist Carey Gillam should stay out of Europe's glyphosate debate

Viewpoint: Former US journalist Carey Gillam should stay out of Europe’s glyphosate debate

A former agricultural reporter at Reuters, Gillam now presents herself as "the Rachel Carson of the GMO debate." Belgian-based risk ...
Jon Entine podcast: Corruption and secrecy behind IARC's glyphosate cancer designation?

Jon Entine podcast: Corruption and secrecy behind IARC’s glyphosate cancer designation?

Glyphosate has been in the headlines for two weeks. Here's a background interview with the GLP's executive director explaining the ...
Glyphosate-gate: Policy and science implications of IARC's 'predetermined' cancer finding

Glyphosate-gate: Policy and science implications of IARC’s ‘predetermined’ cancer finding

Where high-stakes issues involve powerful beliefs, financial reward and opportunities for advancement, neither individuals nor agencies can be assumed to ...
Glyphosate, IARC and politics: 'We need a more honest debate'

Glyphosate, IARC and politics: ‘We need a more honest debate’

Glyphosate is one of the most hotly-debated herbicides of the modern era. Many of the arguments against the popular weed-killer ...
There's 'Big Ag' and 'Big Organic'—How much does 'big' matter when it comes to sustainability?

There’s ‘Big Ag’ and ‘Big Organic’—How much does ‘big’ matter when it comes to sustainability?

It's the way crops are farmed not the farm's size that matters when it comes to sustainability ...
'GMO' petunias: Ridiculousness exposed and explained

‘GMO’ petunias: Ridiculousness exposed and explained

Italian researcher offers satirical look at the story of the GMO petunias that were ordered destroyed. How would you explain ...
Genetic engineering and gene silencing could fight deadly crop mycotoxins—if not blocked by activists

Genetic engineering and gene silencing could fight deadly crop mycotoxins—if not blocked by activists

Aflatoxins are responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars in crop losses annually. Farmers have struggled to control the troublesome ...
Viewpoint: Christopher Portier—well-paid activist scientist at center of the ban-glyphosate movement

Viewpoint: Christopher Portier—well-paid activist scientist at center of the ban-glyphosate movement

Christopher Portier, special adviser to the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer, is bringing down the reputation ...
Viewpoint: Should US be subsidizing organic farming when label seems increasingly meaningless?

Viewpoint: Should US be subsidizing organic farming when label seems increasingly meaningless?

Congress is considering tripling the budget for the USDA's organics program. Should we be asking for more answers from regulators ...
10 truths about GMOs, organics and modern farming

10 truths about GMOs, organics and modern farming

As the debate over GMOs has gone viral, city-dwellers often position themselves as experts on farming. But there's often a ...
Viewpoint: Self-interest, rather than ignorance, key driver in GMO and climate change rejectionism

Viewpoint: Self-interest, rather than ignorance, key driver in GMO and climate change rejectionism

GMO opponents and climate change deniers often share a common characteristic -- their actions and decisions are driven by the ...
Disease-resistant GMO tomato that could eliminate need for copper pesticides blocked by public fears

Disease-resistant GMO tomato that could eliminate need for copper pesticides blocked by public fears

Field trials have shown that a disease-resistant GMO tomato variety eliminates the need for copper pesticides that pollute soil and ...
Conventional agriculture holds multiple ecological advantages over organic, analysis shows

Conventional agriculture holds multiple ecological advantages over organic, analysis shows

Conventional farming outperforms organic in several key measures -- particularly crop yield, according to a meta analysis of 164 research ...
Kevin Folta looks back 5 years after release of controversial Séralini GMO rat study

Kevin Folta looks back 5 years after release of controversial Séralini GMO rat study

The heavily criticized and retracted paper linked GMO consumption and glyphosate exposure to cancer in rats. The brouhaha that erupted ...
Do GMOs, pesticides cause cancer? The Amish would say 'no'

Do GMOs, pesticides cause cancer? The Amish would say ‘no’

Amish farmers may not get cancer as much, but it's not because they don't use pesticides or GMOs. In fact, ...
Guided evolution of wheat and other grains could feed growing population

Guided evolution of wheat and other grains could feed growing population

Can we breed wheat and other cereal grains with the ability to fertilize themselves? Researchers report promising results that could ...
GMO seeds could be critical for extended space travel, colonization

GMO seeds could be critical for extended space travel, colonization

If we hope to colonize space, scientists must figure out how to feed astronauts on journeys that could last years ...
Neonicotinoid seed treatments: Effective crop protectants—or unnecessary, with potential collateral damage to bees?

Neonicotinoid seed treatments: Effective crop protectants—or unnecessary, with potential collateral damage to bees?

If neonic seed treatments don’t increase yields, reducing their use to limit potential harm to bees would be an easier ...
Creating 'super wheat': Genetic modification supercharges photosynthesis

Creating ‘super wheat’: Genetic modification supercharges photosynthesis

A growing global food demand is challenged by the problem of limited crop-growing space. Could GMO-edited wheat meet this need ...
Viewpoint:  No, Big Ag doesn't 'control' the world's food supply

Viewpoint: No, Big Ag doesn’t ‘control’ the world’s food supply

Is there truth to a common anti-GMO narrative that large multi-national companies seek to “control the food supply” through patents ...
GMO that's not all GMO: Monsanto's rootworm-fighting corn seed uses RNA interference

GMO that’s not all GMO: Monsanto’s rootworm-fighting corn seed uses RNA interference

The EPA's relatively quick approval of a new Monsanto seed trait drew criticism from anti-GMO groups that complained about a ...
Scrambled DNA fragments could open doors to higher crop yields, new herbicides

Scrambled DNA fragments could open doors to higher crop yields, new herbicides

Plants have shown a wide range of reactions after being edited with random bits of genetic material. Some grow faster ...
Tale of two neonicotinoid bumble bee studies—And how science can be massaged

Tale of two neonicotinoid bumble bee studies—And how science can be massaged

Are neonics dangerous for bees? Two studies published on the same day reached sharply different conclusions. Guess which one got ...
Viewpoint: 'Blistering' USDA organic report suggests 'movement' needs major reforms

Viewpoint: ‘Blistering’ USDA organic report suggests ‘movement’ needs major reforms

The USDA report detailing poor oversight by the agency’s National Organic Program challenges the belief that consumers can trust organic ...
Targeting weeds at the genetic level aids battle against herbicide resistance

Targeting weeds at the genetic level aids battle against herbicide resistance

Understanding how weeds evolve to become invasive and herbicide-resistant at the genetic level can help scientists design better weed controls ...
Insect damaged corn

Ugandan journalist: How do you report on crop biotechnology when critics spread misinformation?

Genetic engineering could help Uganda combat some of its toughest food security challenges. But anti-GMO activists' misinformation campaigns are standing ...