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September 21, 2000


Letter to Elle


Those of you who are new to this listserv should go to the AgBioView
archives and look at message number 571 for the full context of this.


Elle magazine has published my response to Thomas Beller's article (below).


October 2000

As a scientist who has been working on developing genetically modified
foods, especially for the Third World – where this technology holds so
much potential in reducing starvation and hunger – I was alarmed by the
sensationalist angle of Thomas Beller’s article. Humans have been
genetically modifying crops since the dawn of civilization. Every
scientific society that has examined this issue has concluded that
biotechnology is a safe means of improving our food production.

Foods derived from biotechnology are the most tested foods ever. Compare
that to earlier methods of wide hybridization, where we introduced
hundreds of genes from wild species into crop plants or used nuclear
irradiation to create variation, and never tested our crop varieties for
food safety.

I am a vegetarian and would be concerned as much as Beller is about any
fish or rat genes in my tomato, but there is none on the market or in the
development pipeline.

C.S. Prakash
Tuskegee University