It looks like the forces of science and reason have scored a victory. The UK Guardian published a story today that reports what is tantamount to a capitulation on the part of Greenpeace on genetically modified organic foods. Except don’t call it that. The difference though is that what Greenpeace is embracing is called Marker Assisted Selection. The process involves joining hereditary qualities and sub-atomic science to choose and control the best characteristics of an individual plant. Basically, it is utilizing quality innovation to enhance what is now there instead of presenting new components as genetic modification. The report cites a statement by Greenpeace that states:
“Whilst the debate between GM and non-GM has used up most of the political oxygen, this report shows it is not the only – or indeed, the best – show in town. There is a growing range of non-GM biotechnologies which show how a growing world population can be fed at a time when natural environments are increasingly stressed,” said Greenpeace chief scientist Dr Doug Parr.
“It’s a silent revolution, making huge strides on the ground for the world’s farmers without the novel risks of GM,” he said. “The debate is not about GM any more; things have moved on.”
The Guardian then quotes a professor of molecular genetics who calls Greenpeace out for it’s double talk:
“This is bizarre. What they are talking about is essentially the suite of technologies that spearhead the ‘green revolution’, which eco groups such as Greenpeace have steadfastly rubbished for decades. Now they see it as agriculture’s saviour,” said Johnjoe McFadden, professor of molecular genetics at the University of Surrey.
“If GM is not up to much then why has it been so successful that crops such as soya are now nearly all GM worldwide. Who knows best how to grow their own crops – farmers or Greenpeace?
“Genetic-assisted breeding is certainly very important and will help to generate new crops but it can’t, for example, replace golden rice. Vitamin A-rich rice cannot be bred because it isn’t a trait which already occurs in rice. This places strict limitations on this form of breeding.”
So it seems that Greenpeace maybe trying to have it’s cake and eat it too by preferring one form of genetic modification over another. Regardless if they are or not, this is definitely a concession on their part. It does not detract from all of the people who have died or face starvation over their opposition to genetically modified crops. None the less, this blogger is proud to have been and will continue to be a part of the chorus defending bio-tech foods from nihilistic, anti-science groups like Greenpeace.