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Triumph of the anti-GMO movement would be a disaster

January 29, 2014
In Discover magazine’s Collide-a-Scape blog, Keith Kloor writes about Why GMOs Matter.

Kloor reflects on the debate around GMOs and the various positions articulated by others such as University of Wyoming’s Andrew Kniss, Berkley’s Michael Eisen and Author Ramez Naam.

Kniss believes that the GMO debate is overlooking an essential voice:
“While activist groups, scientists, and journalists yell past each other in this debate, the people who are actually using and benefiting from the technology are largely ignored. So too are the potential beneficiaries of the future.”

As an example, Naam explains the importance of GM technology to the developing world:
“There are 7 million cotton farmers in India. Several peer reviewed studies have found that, because Bt cotton increases the amount of crop they have to sell, it raises their farm profits by as much as 50 percent, helps lift them out of poverty and reduces their risk of falling into hunger.

“That’s not a hypothetical benefit of GMOs. It’s real. And it matters,” adds Kloor.

Meanwhile Eisen believes that the rejection of science is at issue:
“What is most disturbing about the GMO debate - and why it matters - is that the anti-GMO movement at almost every turn rejects empiricism as a means of understanding the world and making decisions about it.

“It relies on the rejection of evidence about the risks and benefits of extant GMOs. And it relies on the rejection of an understanding about molecular biology.

“And its triumph would be a disaster not just because we would miss out on future innovations in agriculture - but because the rejection of GMOs would all but banish the last vestige of empiricism from political life.

“The world faces so many challenges now, and we can only solve them if we believe that the world can be understood by studying it, that we can think up and generate possible solutions to the challenges we face, and that we can make rational decisions about which ones to use or not to use.”

The truth in this statement is powerful and the resonating argument out of Keith’s blog is that GMOs can help end world hunger.  Feeding our growing population, estimated to reach 9 billion by 2050, will require multiple tools, and GM technology is an important one.  This is “Why GMOs Matter.”