Good reading on genetically modified foods

The peer-reviewed science journal Nature has just published a special edition on genetically modified crops. GallonDaily recommends the special section to readers interested in this topic as a good exploration of what Nature calls “the hopes, the fears, the reality and the future”.

One of the most helpful articles is entitled “A Hard Look at GM Crops”.  Nature news reporter Natasha Gilbert takes a look at what she describes as three pressing questions:

  • Are GM crops fuelling the rise of herbicide-resistant ‘superweeds’?
  • Are they driving farmers in India to suicide?
  • And are the foreign transgenes in GM crops spreading into other plants?

The answers, addressed in depth in the article, are True, False, and Unknown. The articles conclusions is that GM crops will not solve all the agricultural challenges facing the developing or developed world, but that they may help overcome some food production problems.

Another article in the special section proposes that research on GM crops should be moved out of industry, which is excessively driven by the need for short-term profit. This is seen to limit some of the more significant food production problems that might be able to be addressed through GM systems.

Addressing the public’s need for information about GM foods, the writer states that “The analyst who spoke of an uninformed public may have been correct in 1993, but such a claim no longer applies. People are positively swimming in information about GM technologies. Much of it is wrong — on both sides of the debate.”

The Nature special section is as balanced a discussion of GM crops as GallonDaily has ever seen. It does not provide all the answers but it provides the reader with a good analysis of many of the questions and does not hold back in its criticism of the GM crops industry. It is available online at http://www.nature.com/news/specials/gmcrops/index.html

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