Wednesday, January 16, 2013

GM food

When it comes to evolution, no reputable scientific organisation supported the ploy by creationists some years back to put “intelligent design” on an equal scientific footing with evolutionary biology, however, many in the GMO debate deny and muddy established, consensus science in a similar way as those religious fundamentalists and also climate change skeptics have done by claiming equal access time and for the "right for people to know".

A longtime opponent changed his former position and endorsed the use of genetically modified crops. Mark Lynas is a British environmentalist who helped start the anti-biotechnology movement in the 1990s and who took part in destroying test plantings of GE crops. Lynas realized that he had never done any academic research on biotechnology, despite his strongly held opposition to it. "So I did some reading," he said, "and I discovered that one by one my cherished beliefs about GM turned out to be little more than green urban myths." Lynas said there is "rock-solid scientific consensus" on the safety of biotech food. "We no longer need to discuss whether or not it is safe—over a decade and a half with 3 trillion GM meals eaten there has never been a single substantiated case of harm," he said. "You are more likely to get hit by an asteroid than to get hurt by GM food."

The issue of herbicide resistance is not unique to GMO crops. Whenever a pesticide is used year after year in the same place on the same target populations, resistance to that pesticide will develop. With any pesticide, and with any genetically engineered crop that involves pests, the pesticides must be rotated to prevent any resistance genes that develop from spreading throughout the population. While crops resistant to glyphosate have resulted in a switch away from other herbicides to glyphosate which has resulted in an increase in glyphosate resistant weeds, this is not due to genetic engineering. The problem is a lack of integrated pest management strategies that incorporate a variety of solutions.

The real issue isn't GM technology itself or its safety, but what it's being used to do. Biotech is often used, not to feed people, but to line the pockets of Big Ag Corporations with many companies trying to patent pieces of genome, like Mosanto that copyright seeds, then prohibit the cleaning and re-using of seeds in order to make more money off them. What bio-tech is being used FOR is the much bigger issue than the technology itself.

No comments: