Experts Unclear on GMO Safety
Humans have been genetically modifying our food for centuries. Today’s apples are the result of grafting by farmers of old, today’s berries are large and juicy because humans protected them and allowed them to evolve, and today’s grains -- especially corn -- are the result of human breeding and fertilizing.
But is it safe for scientists to specifically change the genetic structure of crops?
A panel of 20 experts convened by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine is out with a report about the benefits and potential risks of engineered crops. The report basically says: Maybe.
“We make a very strong point that sweeping generalizations about GE crops are misguided,” Fred Gould of North Carolina State tells The Washington Post. The report doesn’t say such crops are always safe, or always risky. It does, however, note that they are still relatively rare, with only two types of lab-engineered crops in heavy production.
“One of the take-home messages is, it makes less and less sense to talk about genetic engineering as a distinct category of plant breeding,” former University of Virginia professor Michael Rodemeyer, tells the Post. “What we’re seeing is rapid development of technology blurring all of those lines.”