Don't Worry About the Genes in Your Food

Pamela Ronald in her fascinating TED Talk finally provides a compelling argument that explains to the common man exactly why Genetically Modified (GM) Foods are nothing to fear.

Science is not a belief system

She says as she goes on to assure us that the practices and the regulatory systems in place today are sufficient to oversee the experiments. Modified foods in production today are perfectly safe to consume and have so far had no major negative incidents attributed to them. It would seem that they have indeed stood the test of time for over 40 years.

In fact, during her presentation she manages to demonstrate that Genetic Modification is nothing new and indeed has been practiced by humans for over a millennia. Ancient corn is completely unrecognizable and bears little resemblance to its modern equivalent, it was not evolution but modification that made it this way. Apparently, all we are doing these days is applying modern techniques to an ancient practice.

Not only are GM Foods safe right now they are essential to our future food security and are solving challenges in both the developing and developed world. From virus defeating Papaya to flood resistant rice the gene splicing is improving our tomorrow or at least that's one point of view. Oh, by the way, go ahead and smack yourself over the head if you doubt GM but are comfortable with Free Range Eggs and insecticide laced organic food as clearly GM could be no worse.

I think she is right on the science but then again in a world where corporations sell us horse meat I wouldn't put all my faith in good behaviour and regulation either. Could there be unintended consequences? The short answer is YES! Nevertheless, this stuff has managed to convince people of the stature of Bill Gates no less but then again he has been doing some strange things of late.

See the presentation for yourself below.

and while on the topic of food check out a few other interesting talks on the subject.

  1. Cover photo GeneLab5 by CIAT.

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