The 10 minor realizations that flipped my thinking about GMOs

Adapted from an image by Amanda via Flickr.

A recent story about GMO testing kicked off a conversation with a friend. The researchers tested the biochemicals from crops to suss out variations in food quality and composition due to genetic engineering. The new process allowed researchers to extract 1,000 or so biochemicals from the fruit of tomatoes. * When the scientists compared the biochemicals of the GM tomato and a wide assortment other non-GM tomatoes, including modern and heirloom varieties, they found no significant differences overall. Thus, although the GM tomato was distinct from its parent, its metabolic profile still fell within the “normal” range of biochemical diversity

Two Paths Taken

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Norm Bourlag. Photo by Glen Stubbe via the Minneapolis Star Tribune. As I write this, the agricultural community has just finished a week acknowledging and celebrating the work of Norman Borlaug.  Borlaug, of course, is widely known as the father of the Green Revolution, having increased the production of staple crops (particularly wheat) around the globe to unprecedented levels.  He single-handedly stymied Malthusian predictions of inevitable global starvation, thereby changing the global perspective on agricultural production. While this is due in part to Dr. Borlaug’s untiring and persistent work, it is probably less widely acknowledged that the great accomplishments he achieved

Thoughts About Norm Borlaug for his 100th Birthday

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Norman Borlaug Congressional Medal, Wikimedia Commons. Norman Borlaug would have been 100 years old last week.  He has been called “The Man Who Fed The World,” and “The Father of The Green Revolution.”  Norm Borlaug was the first plant pathologist to be awarded a Nobel Prize (1970) – for contributions to world peace. For all of use who are fellow plant pathologists, his work has been particularly inspiring. It is a good time to look back at how the challenge of feeding the world population was met during Borlaug’s career, because we have a similar challenge ahead of us.

Only Seralini can Censor Seralini

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Supporters of Prof Seralini should stop complaining about being treated unfairly, and simply publish the work elsewhere.  If the data truly support what they claim, the work will find many excellent alternative publication venues. The 2012 work by Seralini et al has long been retracted, and months later friends and admirers of Prof Seralini still are screaming foul and injustice, even leveling claims of censorship.  In the recent online twitter rally over at #SupportSeralini, you can read claims  about how Monsanto controls all scientific journals and their editors, effectively expunging any evidence of transgenic plant product harm from the scientific

Reductionist thinking and GMOs

While the article GMOs, Silver Bullets and the Trap of Reductionist Thinking has garnered some praise, I was hoping for more here and was left unimpressed. Written by Jonathan Foley, Director of the Institute on the Environment, University of Minnesota, the article begins by stating that GMOs have come with “Big Problems”. He goes on to elaborate several points that are actually either old myths, untrue, or not really GE specific. In the move from “lab into the real world” he states that “they end up being very disappointing.” I wonder how many growers across the globe would agree with that.