Beyond GM food
New cutting edge MAS technology makes GM food obsolete.
Dateline: Monday, July 10, 2022
by Jeremy Rifkin
For years, the life science companies Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer, Pioneer,
etc. have argued that genetically modified (GM) food is the next great
scientific and technological revolution in agriculture, and the only
efficient and cheap way to feed a growing population in a shrinking
world. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including my own, The
Foundation on Economic Trends, have been cast as the villains in this
unfolding agricultural drama, and often categorized as modern versions
of the English Luddites, accused of continually blocking scientific
and technological progress because of our opposition to GM food.
Now, in an ironic twist, new cutting edge technologies have made gene
splicing and transgenic crops obsolete and a serious impediment to
The new frontier is called genomics and the new agricultural technology
is called Marker Assisted Selection, or MAS. The new technology offers
a sophisticated method to greatly accelerate classical breeding. A
growing number of scientists believe that MAS, which is already being
introduced into the market, will eventually replace GM food. Moreover,
environmental organizations, like Greenpeace, that have long opposed
GM crops, are guardedly supportive of MAS technology.
Rapidly accumulating information about crop genomes is allowing scientists
to identify genes associated with traits like yield and then scan crop
relatives for the presence of those genes. Instead of using molecular
splicing techniques to transfer a gene from an unrelated species into
the genome of a food crop to increase yield, resist pests, or improve
nutrition, scientists are now using Marker Assisted Selection to locate
desired traits in other varieties or, wild relatives of a particular
food crop, then cross breeding those plants with the existing commercial
varieties to improve the crop. With MAS, the breeding of new varieties
always remain within a species, thus, greatly reducing the risk of
environmental harm and potential adverse health effects associated
with GM crops. Using MAS, researchers can upgrade classical breeding
and reduce by 50 percent or more the time needed to develop new plant
varieties by pinpointing appropriate plant partners at the gamete or
seedling stage. ...
For the whole story, go to the related site below.
Please add your comments on this or any other story in this week's
edition of Straight Goods in the Straight Goods Cyber Forum.