Wednesday, September 2, 2015

GM -- 'the most critical technology' for feeding the world | EurekAlert! Science News

A former adviser to the US Secretary of State says that genetic modification (GM) is the most critical technology in agriculture for meeting the challenges of feeding a growing global population, writing in the open access journal Agriculture & Food Security.

Nina Fedoroff, molecular biologist and former Science and Technology Adviser to Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice, warns of the detrimental influence of politics and misinformation on the safety of GM crops. Instead, Fedoroff says that: "GM crops are arguably the safest new crops ever introduced into the human and animal food chains."

Addressing safety concerns, Fedoroff highlights recent studies that have revealed that plant modification by molecular techniques has less impact on gene expression, protein and metabolite levels than conventional genetic crosses. New methods are also rapidly being developed that promise to further increase the specificity and precision of genetic modification.

"The overwhelming evidence is that the GM foods now on the market are as safe, or safer, than non-GM foods," argues Fedoroff. She also cites a recent overview by the European Union of more than 130 research projects over 25 years concluding that GM methods are not inherently more risky than conventional plant breeding technologies. Fedoroff adds: "Every credible scientific body that has examined the evidence has come to the same conclusion."

She writes: "Current yield growth trends are simply insufficient to keep up with growing demand...To live sustainably within planetary constraints, we must grow more on the same amount of land using less water, energy and chemicals. The molecular genetic revolution of the late 20th century that powered the development of precise GM methods is the most critical technology for meeting these challenges."

GM -- 'the most critical technology' for feeding the world | EurekAlert! Science News

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