G Magazine reviews G Modification

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Decoding the GM debate
By Emma Young
G Magazine 12 October 2010
G weighs up the evidence behind the claims made for and against GM crops.

If you’re looking for a topical issue that polarises opinion, you can’t go past genetic modification (GM). At one end of the spectrum, GM food is the answer to world hunger, at the other, it’s a ticking time bomb set to wreak havoc on human health and the natural world.

For thousands of years, people have been altering the genetic make-up of plants and animals by crossbreeding closely related organisms with desirable characteristics. Genetic modification, which involves copying genes from one species into another, provides a way to fast track this process – and also to massively expand the possibilities. Supporters say GM can make agriculture greener by enabling farmers to use less pesticide and switch to safer herbicides, for example. Critics say GM crops pose threats to human health and the environment.

The debate is highly charged, to say the least, and environmental groups, such as Greenpeace, frequently find themselves pitted against not only the big seed companies, like Monsanto, but scientists from organisations such as the CSIRO… continues at the link to G Magazine

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David Tribe is an applied geneticist, teaching graduate/undergrad courses in food science, food safety, biotechnology and microbiology at the University of Melbourne.