GMO Myths and Truths
11 GMO Myths Totally Debunked
Based on the evidence presented in the report, GMO Myths and Truths: An evidence-based examination of the claims made for the safety and efficacy of genetically modified crops, there is no need to take risks with GM crops when effective, readily available, and sustainable solutions to the problems that GM technology is claimed to address already exist.
Conventional plant breeding, in some cases helped by safe modern technologies like gene mapping and marker assisted selection, continues to outperform GM in producing high-yield, drought-tolerant, and pest- and disease-resistant crops that can meet our present and future food needs.
Genetically modified (GM) crops are promoted on the basis of a range of far-reaching claims from the GM crop industry and its supporters. They say that GM crops:
1. Are an extension of natural breeding and do not pose different risks from naturally bred crops 2. Are safe to eat and can be more nutritious than naturally bred crops 3. Are strictly regulated for safety 4. Increase crop yields 5. Reduce pesticide use 6. Benefit farmers and make their lives easier 7. Bring economic benefits 8. Benefit the environment 9. Can help solve problems caused by climate change 10. Reduce energy use 11. Will help feed the world.
However, a large and growing body of scientific and other authoritative evidence shows that these claims are not true. On the contrary, evidence presented in this report indicates that GM crops:
1. Are laboratory-made, using technology that is totally different from natural breeding methods, and pose different risks from non-GM crops 2. Can be toxic, allergenic or less nutritious than their natural counterparts 3. Are not adequately regulated to ensure safety 4. Do not increase yield potential 5. Do not reduce pesticide use but increase it 6. Create serious problems for farmers, including herbicide-tolerant “superweeds”, compromised soil quality, and increased disease susceptibility in crops 7. Have mixed economic effects 8. Harm soil quality, disrupt ecosystems, and reduce biodiversity 9. Do not offer effective solutions to climate change 10. Are as energy-hungry as any other chemically-farmed crops 11. Cannot solve the problem of world hunger but distract from its real causes – poverty, lack of access to food and, increasingly, lack of access to land to grow it on.
About the authors
Michael Antoniou, PhD is a reader in molecular genetics and head, Gene Expression and Therapy Group, King’s College London School of Medicine, London, UK. He has 28 years’ experience in the use of genetic engineering technology investigating gene organisation and control, with over 40 peer reviewed publications of original work, and holds inventor status on a number of gene expression biotechnology patents. Dr Antoniou has a large network of collaborators in industry and academia who are making use of his discoveries in gene control mechanisms for the production of research, diagnostic and therapeutic products and safe and efficacious human somatic gene therapy for inherited and acquired genetic disorders.
Claire Robinson, MPhil, is research director at Earth Open Source. She has a background in investigative reporting and the communication of topics relating to public health, science and policy, and the environment. She is an editor at GMWatch (www.gmwatch.org), a public information service on issues relating to genetic modification, and was formerly managing editor at SpinProfiles (now Powerbase.org).
John Fagan, PhD is a leading authority on sustainability in the food system, biosafety, and GMO testing. He is founder and chief scientific officer of one of the world’s first GMO testing and certification companies, through which he has pioneered the development of innovative tools to verify and advance food purity, safety and sustainability. He co-founded Earth Open Source, which uses open source collaboration to advance sustainable food production. Earlier, he conducted cancer research at the US National Institutes of Health. He holds a PhD in biochemistry and molecular and cell biology from Cornell University.
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