Genetically modified crops

A week ago I blogged about genetically modified (GM) crops. My opinions are still undecided on this. One thing does seem clear, though. The tale about GM corn giving rats tumours, which hit the news recently, was based on bad science. Moth at Anthropocene shows us a critique of that research.

[Edit] Since I wrote this I’ve learned that the science by Professor Gilles-Eric Séralini, about rats’ tumours wasn’t so bad. I’ll blog about this another time.

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About argylesock

I wrote a PhD about veterinary parasitology so that's the starting point for this blog. But I'm now branching out into other areas of biology and into popular science writing. I'll write here about science that happens in landscapes, particularly farmland, and about science involving interspecific interactions. Datasets and statistics get my attention. Exactly where this blog will lead? That's a journey that I'm on and I hope you'll come with me.
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2 Responses to Genetically modified crops

  1. pcawdron says:

    There’s a luddite tendency within humans to resist change and suspect the worst of anything new. Truth is, we’ve been genetically modifying crops for thousands of years, only via indirect means. Now, we have the opportunity to be much more precise. I’m all for caution and care being taken, but the alarmist position we see in the media is fuelled more by visions of fictional works like Frankenstein and Jurassic Park than reality. Comprehensive, thorough peer-reviewed research, is the answer, not sci-fi 🙂

    • argylesock says:

      You’re right about the alarmist media. They have newspapers etc to sell, after all.

      But I do still have my doubts about GM in the field. My main concerns are about genetic pollution:

      * When genes have been inserted into a genome, they can slip out again more easily than would otherwide happen, leading to increased risk of inserting themselves into other genomes, hence superweeds, superpests and superbugs

      * GM plants can crossbreed with related species, hence more superweeds

      * The GM process routinely includes antibiotic resistance genes alongside the desired transgenes, leading to increased risk of selection for resistance in bacteria, hence more superbugs

      Do you happen to know any scientific discussions of these questions? These are what I want to review in a blog post here. The hype, both pro-GM and anti-GM, is loud and distracting.

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