I believe that the current negative attitude about GMOs is misguided. My reasons follow.

All of our food products have been modified over time by cross- and selective-breeding for traits that enhance features such as size or taste or durability or yield or resistance to pests.  When cultivation of grain and corn began, the former's plants were small with a few hard seeds and the latter's cobs were tiny by today's standards. Over millennia farmers kept the most desirable seed (by whatever standard) for seed stock, and the plants evolved.  Dairy cows were bred from cattle to produce large quantities of milk. Comparing the sizes of wild and domestic turkeys shows the changes selective breeding have made in the latter.  Modern hybridization has produced tangelos and kumquats, but a look at the genetics and history of citrus species indicates that even what are now considered "normal" varieties, such as oranges and grapefruit, are in fact hybrids. 

In the past, efforts to modify species were laborious and required substantial amounts of time.  Even in the recent past, the high-yield varieties of wheat and rice that led to the Green Revolution were developed by traditional means.  Genetic understanding, however, allows much of the old process to be circumvented and, in fact, opens the door to obtaining specific, desirable characteristics.  With the changing climate, food varieties that are pest-resistant, drought tolerant, and high-yield may be needed to offset loss of arable land and/or water/fertilizer stocks in order to feed a growing world population.

I am willing to accept the current consensus of those who are experts in the area: that GMOs are safe.  If that consensus changes, my position on the issue may change, depending on the specific issues raised.

Comment