Wednesday, September 18, 2013

GMOs - the debate goes on

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Okay, let’s wrap this up. I doubt I’ve changed any minds here, but hopefully given you a reason to think about it. What I want to interrupt is the constant repetition of the same old stories. Genetic modification is here, and will only get easier and more common. What will continue is the same stories about Percy Schmeiser and cancerous rats, repeated as if they are new findings.  It can be hard to find competent journalism and good scientific responses, because those responses only come once, then they consider their job done. It is not their job to comment on every website that repeats them without balancing them with the response.  That’s your job.

And, don’t get me wrong, I am not about to sign off on saying GMOs are safe. I did find a few studies that are not so easy to dismiss. 

And we do need to consider traditions. An interesting case occurred here in Minnesota where the University was testing engineered wild rice. The natives, who have harvested wild rice for centuries, were not too happy about that. At first they were dismissed, but when the GE rice genes were found in the wild, the University stopped their experiments. This was only the usual 1% or so infestation, but in this case, 1% was too much. Here’s the story

As with many issues, science has a marketing problem when it comes to GMOs. I hope this changes, but for now we can only rely on the occasional interview.