Genetic Engineering Negativity - Mass Hysteria?


All the negativity on genetically engineered foods is more hysterical and emotional than factual and real. This is a similar effect to the terms "Natural" and "Organic" being falsely perceived by a large portion of the public as "Good", while the terms "Man-made" and "Synthetic" perceived as "Bad". The facts are there are good and bad natural, organic, synthetic, man-made, genetically modified and conventionally bred organisms and products. The label has no bearing to the goodness or safety of the item in question. The negative connotations on genetically modified or engineered, synthetic or man-made products serve only an emotional need. A need to sway the vulnerable public against facts and safety of better commodities which may be more economical to produce.

Conventional plant breeding is every bit as risky as the genetically modified. Consider the herbicide resistant canola which was developed by traditional methods. IT LOOKS JUST LIKE an ordinary oilseed rape plant, but farmers in Canada know it as "Smart Canola". Because it carries genes for resistance to two families of herbicides, the farmers can kill off every weed in sight, without fear of damaging their harvest.

The prospect of plants that could in effect conspire with farmers to produce chemically sterilised fields has sent Europe's conservationists into a flat spin. They have issued dire warnings about the perils of agricultural biotechnology and call for moratoriums on GM plantings.

But Smart Canola is not quite what it seems. While European officials agonise over the pros and cons of growing GM crops, they could do little to stop farmers planting this oilseed rape. The reason: Smart Canola is not genetically engineered.

The problems with Traditionally Modified Organisms, those developed by hybridization and random mutations, are the same as those seen with Genetically Modified Organisms. Why then, should they be treated differently? Again, it is an emotional issue. The naysayers appear to have a streak of paranoia in their make-up. Their concerns should be equally with the traditionally developed organisms. Perhaps they should stop eating/using these also! Get Real!


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© Ted C. D'Eon