G Magazine reviews G Modification

Decoding the GM debate
By Emma Young
G Magazine 12 October 2010
G weighs up the evidence behind the claims made for and against GM crops.

If you’re looking for a topical issue that polarises opinion, you can’t go past genetic modification (GM). At one end of the spectrum, GM food is the answer to world hunger, at the other, it’s a ticking time bomb set to wreak havoc on human health and the natural world.

For thousands of years, people have been altering the genetic make-up of plants and animals by crossbreeding closely related organisms with desirable characteristics. Genetic modification, which involves copying genes from one species into another, provides a way to fast track this process – and also to massively expand the possibilities. Supporters say GM can make agriculture greener by enabling farmers to use less pesticide and switch to safer herbicides, for example. Critics say GM crops pose threats to human health and the environment.

The debate is highly charged, to say the least, and environmental groups, such as Greenpeace, frequently find themselves pitted against not only the big seed companies, like Monsanto, but scientists from organisations such as the CSIRO… continues at the link to G Magazine

David Tribe

Written by David Tribe

David Tribe’s research career in academia and industry has covered molecular genetics, biochemistry, microbial evolution and biotechnology. He has over 60 publications and patents. Dr. Tribe's recent activities focus on agricultural policy and food risk management. He teaches graduate programs in food science and risk management as a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Agriculture and Food Systems, University of Melbourne.

One comment

  1. I found this article to be pretty good, because it even-handedly presented some of the pro-con arguments, but did not resort to the he-said/she-said type of ‘balance’ that plagues articles on many science-related topics. They were not afraid to editorialize and analyze the issue to say what the most accurate scientific position is:

    Take the time to sort through the science behind some of the most often-cited GM health scare studies, though, and many of the conclusions look decidedly shaky.

    I saw a lot of anti-GE people linking to it, so maybe it will get some thinking going.

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