Why Bill Nye Condones Genetically Modifying Food

Why Bill Nye Condones Genetically Modifying Food


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Bill Nye once thought of GMO foods as ethically hazardous, but with thorough industry regulations and growing food pressures, he’s come to embrace the genetic mutants on our plates.

Read more at BigThink.com: http://bigthink.com/videos/bill-nye-frankenfoods-are-ok

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Transcript – In 2005 when I did a show called The Ides of Nye companies like Monsanto had patents on genes and people were questioning whether or not that was ethical. Also there was this overarching idea that we have enough food. We just can’t distribute it properly. And the reason people are starving in the world is there’s enough food. And my concern was the ecosystem. This is to say you can know each organism very well. And by know I mean you can know it’s the sequence of its genes and you can grow it in isolation and refuges and see how it performs. This is talking about crops now. So there would be no need to experiment with the ecosystem even though you can know the individual crop plant, you don’t know what it would do when it’s around butterflies or bees or birds or other pollinators or some virus we haven’t discovered yet. Since then a couple of things, three things, have happened to my way of thinking.

The least significant may be that we can now assay genes ten million. This is to say, no 100 million. Ten to the eighth times faster than we could 15 or 20 years ago. The DNA sequencing machines are so sophisticated. You can actually simulate what would happen if this virus comes in or that gene is introduced from a vector, an insect vector or what have you. That’s the first thing that you can make predictions about how plants will grow based on their genes very accurately. Much more so than you could a couple of decades ago.

The second thing is there are 7.3 billion people in the world right now early in the twenty-first century. By the middle of the twenty-first century there’s going to be nine billion. There might even be ten billion people. So those people are going to have to be fed. And sure enough the way to do that is almost certainly with genetically modified crops which are much more productive than they used to be. And then from a historic standpoint humans have always hybridized crops. But now humans are hybridizing from a genetic standpoint, not just by combining sexually crops of desirable traits. Read Full Transcript Here: http://goo.gl/eycbCL

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