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Genetically modifying food has been a hot topic with many scientists lately and is getting press, but not for the right reasons. There is a major issue when in our country one out of six children are starving and around the world 38,000 children die a day from starvation. There have been many attempts through traditional means of charity and rescue to try to save these people. But why not empower them to be able to do it their selves? What is stopping them from doing it now? All of these questions plagued me as I went through my research into what options are available and what is actually viable. This is what lead me to the GMO debate.
For the most part the typical understanding of genetics is very prehistoric, when I say this I mean as in Jurassic Park. They look at it like its some insane science experiment in which a mad scientist is creating mutant celery that causes warts to break out on your feet and your eyes to turn yellow. This is really sad considering all the peer review studies and data available for consumption. Once I started to break open under the layers of emotion and preconceived notions from pseudo science and snake oil “activists”, I was totally shocked. Changing code does not affect health in anyway, and we have been doing since the dawn of agriculture. Its perfectly normal to be doing this, but we now can do it better.There are projects making special rice that has more nutrition than typical rice and its sustaining large populations that would otherwise have no nutrition.
There are a dozen different ways to alter genes and several different stages of the plants cycle. For the past decade massive leaps in knowledge about this has created some really amazing advancements. Not only mixing genes to alter them, we now can actually change the codes! Biology IS technology and altering it is now no different than altering programming on a computer program. Everything is chemical. That banana you are eating consists of hundreds of chemicals that can be referenced individually and are in tons of different compounds, even poisonous ones.
As far as topical agents go, we have to understand that certain toxic chemicals are hurting everything around where we put them. Roundup, the focus of the rhetoric from the Anti GMO crowd actually works with things on a biological level not just kills unwanted plants. This is not to be confused with GMO in foods before they grow. Two totally different things. Apples to Oranges so to speak.
The thing that is amazing about this is that we now know we can actually change the codes in the genes and not use topical agents or use ones that have no side effects in order to dilute the attractiveness or even turn the problem off completely. There are lots of geneticists working on that very problem with some amazing results, but are having a hard time getting funding or attention because of the constant propaganda coverage which has nothing to do with the known good methods we already employ.
In Science the details are most important so that things like how to find antibiotics through trial and error are not just abandoned because we havent found the right combination yet. This is how we find out about a lot of things in medicine. All things are a poison at a certain toxicity level. Its just a matter of finding the correct level for the medicinal purpose.
One pioneer in the field’s book Tomorrow’s Table (co-authored with organic farmer) argues that to advance sustainable agriculture, we must not focus on the code changing techniques for the seed variety being developed. Instead we must ask what technology most enhances local food security and can provide safe, abundant and nutritious food to consumers because we have been eating GMOs for thousands of years. Now we can actually control it on a code level.