Science and public opinion square off in GMO debate
Van Eenenaam examined 20 years of records on the health and production of livestock populations eating GMO feed and has not found any measurable trends or changes.
"And those field observations agree with the many hundreds of carefully controlled studies that have been done by researchers globally," she said.
Van Eenennaam confirmed that crops modified to resist herbicides have encouraged greater use of herbicides and some weeds have become resistant to herbicides as a result.
"But I would argue that the trade-offs haven't been that significant and, unfortunately, this public concern around it is forestalling the development of what I would argue is much more sustainable plant and animal species," she said.
In her Twitter feed, Van Eenenaam provided links to additional information about the impact of current GMO crops.
One possible benefit of GMOs is helping crops adapt to a warmer world resulting from global climate change, reported Matt Weiser on Vox.
For the article, Weiser spoke to Peggy Lemaux, UC ANR Cooperative Extension biotechnology specialist based at UC Berkeley. Lemaux is the lead researcher on a project aimed at engineering drought resistance into crops — in this case, sorghum. Her goal is to discover how epigenetics, the process by which environmental change triggers new genetic functions, could be used to improve drought tolerance.
If she and her colleagues can figure this out for sorghum, it could be applied to other species such as tomatoes and rice, also part of Lemaux's research, through genetic engineering or by inducing mutations using radiation or chemicals./span>