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Genetically Engineered Plants and Foods: A Scientist's Analysis

Date Posted: April 27, 2012

Introduction by Seed Today editor
It is fairly certain the debate about the pros and cons of using genetically modified (GM) transgenic crops will not be resolved anytime soon for one simple reason: the two opposing views share little common ground. Those who support the use of GM crops look to the science behind the technology. Those who oppose using transgenic crops base their opposition (for the most part) on emotional, ethical, or philosophical arguments.

Scientists are not convinced by philosophy and philosophers pay little heed to scientific reason. Scientists tend to be methodical as they make their arguments, careful to substantiate each step of their discussion. Philosophers tend to be more shrill and less concerned about the inclusion of objective evidence.

For those opposed to the use of transgenic biotechnology, for them to change their attitude and accept GM technology would be somewhat akin to making a religious conversion. It is possible, but not very likely.

On the other side of the debate are the scientists who could theoretically look beyond their scientific evidence and be swayed by philosophical arguments, but again - it is possible, but not very likely.

The Science of Genetice Plant Transformation

Following are links to two clear, objective, and unbiased presentations regarding the broad topic of genetically modified crops. In an understandable, well organized presentation, Dr. Peggy Lemaux, University of California - Berkeley, dispels the mystery and misinformation surrounding this modern technology. While these articles are three and four years old, time has done nothing to diminish the relevance and accuracy of her presentations.

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Genetically Engineered Plants and Foods: A Scientist's Analysis of the Issues (Part I)
Annual Review of Plant Biology, Vol. 59: 771-812 (Volume publication date June 2008)
First published online as a Review in Advance on February 19, 2008
DOI: 10.1146/annurev.arplant.58.032806.103840

Genetically Engineered Plants and Foods: A Scientist's Analysis of the Issues (Part II)
Annual Review of Plant Biology, Vol. 60: 511-559 (Volume publication date June 2009)
DOI: 10.1146/annurev.arplant.043008.092013



Peggy G. Lemaux, Ph.D.

Peggy G. Lemaux, Ph.D.
Department of Plant and Microbial Biology
University of California - Berkeley, California
lemauxpg@nature.berkeley.edu

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