What’s the problem with genetically modified (GM) crops? Or with GM livestock, GM bacteria, GM anything outside the lab? GM let loose in fields, in water, in the air?
As you know I’ve done GM in labs. To borrow a cliche from the gay world, some of my best friends do it. GM is the same thing as genetic engineering. Here’s how it’s done. But I’m not hurrying to make up my mind about GM outside the lab. It’s about people but it’s also about other organisms, about the food webs and ecosystems we rely on.
It bothers me that Mr Lynas writes only about the evidence that GM foods don’t harm people who eat them. Yes, that evidence is strong. But it’s not the whole story.
The evidence of genetic pollution is another matter. Yesterday I invited you to notice what Rakshit Agrawal at GreenSky says about pesticidal GM cotton in India. About pests evolving to outwit the genetic engineers. Here’s what SourceWatch says about herbicide-resistant GM crops in the USA. About weeds evolving to outwit the genetic engineers.
I’m reminded of the way bacteria evolve to outwit the people who make antibiotics. Antibiotic resistance is a huge and growing problem. It’s not the same as GM resistance, scientifically, but there’s a similarity. Organisms are very good at evolving. Whatever we throw at our little (or big) enemies, they usually overtake us.
If there were a simple answer about GM in my mind now, I’d tell it to you. What do you think?