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Date:

January 21, 2001

Subject:

Responses to '10 Reasons Why "Organic Gardening" Opposes

 

Following is a press release from the Editor of 'Organic
Gardening'. See below responses to this by Prof. Bob Goldberg
and Mr. Andrew Apel.

------------
10 Reasons Organic Gardening Opposes Genetic Engineering:

(FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Stephen Crane
610.740.9524/stephen@cranecreek.com)

1. Superbugs: In as little as 3 years, BT-resistant insects strains
could evolve.
2. Superweeds: Genetically engineered herbicide-tolerant crops
cross-pollinating with wild relatives could create
herbicide-resistant weeds.
3. Pollen drift: Organic farmers could lose certification when
fields are contaminated by wind-born pollen from genetically
engineered crops.
4. Harm to wildlife: Certain insects have died after eating
genetically engineered crops or pollen.
5. Harm to soil: Residues in genetically-altered crops depress
beneficial microbial activity in the soil. 6. Human health: Genetic
engineered crops have been shown to be less nutritious.
7. Hidden allergies: When DNA from one organism is spliced
into another, it can turn non-allergenic foods into foods that will
cause allergic reactions.
8. Antibiotic resistance: Antibiotic resistance introduced into
humans from genetically modified foods could render
established medial treatments ineffective.
9. Religious and moral considerations: People who choose not
to eat animals face an almost impossible task because many
genetically engineered crops contain animal genes.
10. Indentured farmers: Farmers cannot save and use seeds
from year to year and are forced into a costly cycle of corporate
dependency.

Why Organic is better:

"Biotechnology is merely the next rung on the chemical-farming
ladder, providing yet another artificial tool to help perpetuate the
shortsighted and unsustainable practices of monoculture
agricultureÉSmart organic practicesÉcan control erosion
without the use of toxic herbicides. And organic practices can
yield just as much or more as chemical farming or untested GE
crops. Like the generation of chemical-based solutions before it,
GE perpetuates an agricultural model far removed from nature.
Those unnatural, high-tech models are steadily destroying our
environment."

--John Grogan, Managing Editor, Organic Gardening

+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+

From: Andrew Apel Organic Gardening

Dear Mr. Crane:

It has come to my attention that Organic Gardening magazine is
about to publish a report entitled "The Problem with Genetic
Engineering," which will cover ten specific points which have
been forwarded to me. I highly recommend that you not
embarrass the publication with such errors.

1. Superbugs: In as little as 3 years, BT-resistant insects strains
could evolve.

--Numerous studies have been conducted regarding Bt
resistance and found no indication that insects will acquire
resistance as a result of exposure to Bt plants. Nonetheless,
farmers are required to implement programs to help ensure
resistance does not arise. This should be contrasted with the
use of Bt in organic agriculture, which is not required to
implement Bt resistance programs. This step should be
considered, as use of Bt by organic farmers has led to the
development of resistance by diamondback moths.

2. Superweeds: Genetically engineered herbicide-tolerant crops
cross-pollinating with wild relatives could create
herbicide-resistant weeds.

--Over the years, numerous weeds have become tolerant to
numerous herbicides through selective adaptation. Under the
scenario you propose, the worst that would happen is a loss of
income for chemical companies. However, there is little need to
worry about this scenario, because in the US there are few crops
able to cross-pollinate with wild relatives.

3. Pollen drift: Organic farmers could lose certification when
fields are contaminated by wind-born pollen from genetically
engineered crops.

--USDA regulations on organic farming do not require this result.

4. Harm to wildlife: Certain insects have died after eating
genetically engineered crops or pollen.

--Insects which damage genetically engineered Bt crops are
supposed to die. The only ones which have died from
consuming the pollen from such plants were those forced to do
so in unrealistic laboratory conditions.

5. Harm to soil: Residues in genetically-altered crops depress
beneficial microbial activity in the soil.

--This speculation has not been proven.

6. Human health: Genetic engineered crops have been shown to
be less nutritious.

--This is false, though one poorly conducted study suggests
otherwise.

7. Hidden allergies: When DNA from one organism is spliced
into another, it can turn non-allergenic foods into foods that will
cause allergic reactions.

-- It is possible to make foods allergenic using genetic
engineering, but nobody would want to market such a thing.

8. Antibiotic resistance: Antibiotic resistance introduced into
humans from genetically modified foods could render
established medial treatments ineffective.

--Humans are resistant to antibiotics; otherwise, the antibiotics
would kill them. However, I think this means to suggest that
resistance might transfer to infectious microbes. You should
note that the antibiotic resistance marker gene chosen for use in
plant transformation was, by intention, an early microbial
adaptation that emerged in 1975. Microbes have since then
evolved much stronger antibiotic resistance than is encoded by
this gene. Accordingly, in the worst case, if such antibiotic
resistance were transferred to an infective microbe, it would take
a lower dose than usual to treat the infection.

9. Religious and moral considerations: People who choose not
to eat animals face an almost impossible task because many
genetically engineered crops contain animal genes.

---This is false. No genetically engineered crops contain animal
genes. Experiments involving such transfers have found the
transfers to be ineffective.

10. Indentured farmers: Farmers cannot save and use seeds
from year to year and are forced into a costly cycle of corporate
dependency.

--Farmers seldom save seed anyhow, preferring to buy a
superior product from seed producers, just as do most of the
subscribers to Organic Gardening.

Organic Gardening magazine may wish to take an "activist
stance" with regard to genetic engineering, but this aim is poorly
served by misinforming your readers.

Kindest regards,

Andrew Apel, editor AgBiotech Reporter
http://www.bioreporter.com

------------
From: Bob Goldberg
To: stephen@cranecreek.com

Hello Mr. Crane:

If the Editor of Organic Gardening is going to try to "educate" his
readership about genetic engineering in plants, it is important for
him to get his facts correct and give a SCIENCE-BASED view. I
ma the Director of the Education Foundation for the largest
society of plant biologists in the world -- the American Society of
Plant Physiologists -- and the Founding Editor of The Plant Cell
-- the most prestigious research journal devoted to basic plant
research. Much of what Mr. Grogan will write about is simply
incorrect. In fact, most of my students at UCLA would hold their
own in a debate on those issues because they are scientifically
incorrect.

Organic gardening and farming performs a useful role in
american agriculture and elsewhere. However, in the year 2050
there will be 10.5 billion people on this planet and we will need
to produce more food in the entire history of mankind. We need
all of the advanced technology we can use to be able to do this --
including the use of genetic engineering -- a technology I might
add that has been around for 27 years and has helped produced
many of the advances in medicine that most people now take for
granted. There is no difference between engineering plants or
engineering "bugs" to make medicines. The SCIENCE is the
same.

Below I list a few SCIENCE-BASED facts on plant genetic
engineering. In the "name of balance" you might consider letting
your readers compare my remarks to those of Mr. Grogan's.
-------------

Michael:

Organic farmers are an important part of farming. However, they
are like the fundamentalists -- they ARE fundamentalists -- who
think that agriculture must be done in a specific way. The amount
of acreage devoted to organic farming is small in the total
scheme of things.

Their opposition to genetic engineering is based on their
"fundamentalist" approach to everything. The organic farmers
have a "specific" way of doing things and anything that does not
follow their "rules" is not organic, including conventional farming
without genetic engineering.

Leaving their "fundamentalist" "ideology" aside, they are quite
hypocritical.

First, their consumer market share has gone up significantly in
England, where the anti-genetic engineering campaign is the
strongest. High-end organic markets like Wild Oats and Whole
Earth Foods DEPEND upon organic foods for their economic
viability. If they can "label" genetic engineering as BAD,
consumers will perceive that organic foods are "healthier", when,
in fact, they are NOT. These high-end grocery stores cater to an
affluent, upper middle-class consumer that can afford their
$3/pound tomatoes. They are major contributors to Greenpeace,
which has been running the anti-genetic engineering campaign.
This is NOT about protecting the consumer or the health of the
consumer, it's about market share and economics. Anyone who
thinks otherwise is naive. The more the "organic" crowd can
scare the consumer about the dangers of genetic engineering,
the greater their market share and profit.

Second, there is not one piece of valid scientific data that can
show that organic foods are healthier than foods made by
conventional farming. As a BOTANIST I know that a plant, is a
plant, is a plant. The structure, cell types, biochemistry, genetics,
etc. of organically grown and conventionally grown crops are the
SAME. There's a perception that organic foods are healthier --
the reality is that they are no more nutritious or healthier than
foods produced by conventional farming. I wonder why organic
foods are not labeled stating this FACT.

Third, organic foods MAY be less safe for consumption than
foods grown by conventional means. Because organic farmers
use MANURE which can contain deadly strains of E. coli,
salmonella, etc. there is a higher chance of picking up a
bacterial infection from organically grown crops than from
conventionally grown crops. The chance may be slight, but it IS
higher than from food produced the conventional way. I wonder
why organic food sellers don't LABEL their foods to warn
consumers of that fact that there may be a chance of getting a
bacterial infection and to wash their organic food well. IF THEY
ARE CONCERNED ABOUT HUMAN HEALTH, THIS SHOULD BE
A NO-BRAINER.

Fourth, there are STRICT regulations on the amount of
"pesticides" that can be on conventional plants as residues. In
fact, ALL PLANTS contain natural chemicals (secondary
metabolites) that are more harmful (in high doses) to humans
than any of the residual pesticides present on conventional
crops. Bruce Ames, a well-known UC Berkeley geneticist who
developed the standard toxicity test used today (the Ames test)
published this in a landmark paper in 1990 in the Proceedings
of the National Academy of Sciences -- and Bruce Ames is a
critical, careful scientist with impeccable credentials for
objectivity -- he works with bacteria and has no hidden agenda in
the plant world one way or the other. Conventional foods are
safe...they have been eaten by BILLIONS of people. Organics, on
the other hand, can pose a HIGHER risk.

Fifth, organic farming takes up much more LAND than
conventional farming. It is naive to think that organic farming can
feed the "world." Organic farming requires MANURE, which
requires animals, which requires FORAGE LAND. Today there
are 6.5 billion people on the face of the earth. By 2050, we may
have 10 billion people. Because organic farming uses nitrogen
in manure, they will have to produce significantly MORE manure
to keep up with the demand to feed 3-4 billion more people. IT
CANNOT BE DONE. In fact, all of the world's cultivatable land
has already been taken up. In order to increase food production
the key is to INCREASE YIELD --- grow more plants on the same
or smaller space. Organic farming can use higher yielding
varieties (developed by conventional breeding). However the
demand for MANURE is too great. It has been estimated, that, at
most, organic farming practices can feed 4 billion people. We
have passed that already.

Fifth, high-yielding farming cannot be done on a large scale
using organic farming practices. There is no way that organic
farmers can control pathogen infections (viruses, fungi, bacteria,
insects) using natural biological controls. These require some
utilization of chemicals. In addition, one of the reasons why
agricultural productivity has increased 300% IN THE LAST
CENTURY HAS BEEN FROM THE USE OF nitrogen fertilizers,
pesticides, herbicides, greater-yielding varieties, agricultural
practices and GENETIC ENGINEERING. This increase has
been obtained on LESS LAND USAGE than a 100 years ago and
with less people. For example, in 1875 ~50% of the labor in the
US was devoted to farming. Today, less than 2% of labor is
devoted to farming. Yet we produce 300% more crops on LESS
land. That's more land for forests, parks, open space, etc. that
would not be there if it weren't for modern agricultural practices.

Sixth, genetic engineering in plants has been carried out for
almost TWENTY years. It took FIFTEEN years in order to get the
first genetically engineered crops in the field that could be
harvested and sold to consumers....FIFTEEN YEARS!!!!!! Many,
many studies experiments, tests, etc. have been going on with
genetically engineered plants in the field for FIFTEEN years. And
regulatory agencies have been involved since the beginning. It
takes at least FIVE years of testing in order to get a genetically
engineered crop released -- and it must pass USDA, EPA, and
FDA standards. It took "us" over SEVEN years of rigorous field
testing to get our laboratory discoveries through the regulatory
agencies in order to release genetically engineered oilseed
hybrids that yield 30% MORE than conventional varieties. SEVEN
YEARS! More tests than any drug used on the market today! The
experiments were done, data collected, data analyzed, data
scrutinized, and re- scrutinized. The regulations are NOT LAX.
Quite the opposite. In fact, it was in our own interest to make
sure that these plants were no different than conventionally
grown plants because if they were they were useless to farmers.
Who I might add adopted our genetically engineered hybrids
because they are higher yielding...MORE FOOD, LESS SPACE.
The regulations are STRICT. And just as it is not in the interest of
the organic farmers to sell manure-contaminated food, it is not in
the interest of conventional farmers/companies to sell food that
is "harmful" to consumers.

Seventh, the organic farmers use a natural "pesticide" from
Bacillus thuringensis bacteria (called Bt) to keep caterpillar
insect damage to a minimum. Bt toxin has been used for almost
a 100 years, has no harmful effects in humans, binds to specific
receptors in the gut of specific insects, and is very effective in
controlling specific classes of insects. Genetic engineering has
been able to LEARN what the toxin protein is that controls the
insects. The gene for this protein is probably one of the most
studied genes on the face of this earth!!! This gene has been
engineered to work in plants and is very effective in preventing
insect damage WITHOUT PESTICIDE SPRAYS. IN FACT, USE
OF Pesticides on CROPS SUCH AS SOYBEAN, CORN, AND
COTTON HAS GONE DOWN SIGNIFICANTLY WITH THE
INTRODUCTION OF THESE VARIETIES. This is the SAME
Protein that the organic farmers use!!!! Using genetically
engineered varieties makes farming easier, less costly, and
MORE CHEMICAL FREE than conventional varieties. And this is
the BEGINNING. Plants have genes that can fight off (albeit
weakly) almost every pest. Now that we have learned the
sequence of almost all plant genes we can begin to use these
genes to protect crops from fungi, bacteria, insects, etc. and do
this in a CHEMICAL FREE WAY! This is very important for us, but
more important for the DEVELOPING world which devotes 75%
of their income or more to food! Simply put, genetically
engineered varieties use the SAME PROTEIN THAT THE
ORGANIC FARMERS USE TO CONTROL SPECIFIC INSECTS!!!

Eighth, yes, there will be resistance. Do we stop using
antibiotics because bacterial strains have become resistant?
NO. The solution is with MANAGEMENT of the
genetically-engineered varieties for insect resistance. How they
are grown in the fields. There are now strict REGULATIONS that
state that in every field of insect-resistant crops there must be
refuges of non-genetically engineered crops in order for the
insects to develop without selection to the insect resistant
varieties. There are other management regimes that would take
days to go into, but these have been/are being addressed
continually by scientists all over the globe. The real issue is cost
vs. benefit. I appreciate he worry of the organic farmers about
insect resistance. The solution is in management of the
genetically engineered plants for insect resistance, new
discoveries, altering the type of genes used. There ARE scientific
solutions to these problems just as there are for antibiotic
resistance in bacteria.

Ninth, yes it is true that pollen will be transported. However, there
have been many, many studies that indicate that pollen
movement is NOT a significant problem. The pollen only goes
so far. Again, crop management solutions have been
implemented using "borders" of non-genetically engineered
crops. In addition, there are other solutions in the pipeline. For
example, eliminating the engineered genes and/or making sure
that they are SILENT in pollen. I HAVE BEEN DOING THAT KIND
OF WORK FOR FIFTEEN YEARS!!! There are remedies that can
prevent any engineered genes from getting into pollen. Although
this is not a big problem, there are rationale solutions to
manage it. Again, the gains far outweigh the risk.

Tenth, there has been one study on the Monarch butterfly that
was fed the SAME bt toxin the organic farmers use on pollen and
they died! SURPRISE, SURPRISE. The study was the equivalent
of giving a baby 16 coca colas an hour for 24 hours and seeing
the effects! This was not a "natural" experiment. In fact, when
real-field-type experiments were carried out by many different
labs all over the world, the effects of genetically engineered
pollen on the Monarch butterfly were MINIMAL. In fact, there is
MUCH MORE DAMAGE WHEN PESTICIDES ARE USED TOO
CONTROL INSECTS IN THE FIELD!!!!!! IN FACT, IN FIELDS
WITH INSECT-RESISTANT GENETICALLY ENGINEERED
PLANTS INSECTS WERE FOUND THAT HADN'T APPEARED IN
FIELDS SPRAYED WITH CHEMICALS. In addition,
DEVELOPMENT and elimination of natural breeding/migrations
grounds for Monarchs have had infinitely more impact on their
population than genetically engineered plants. These are issues
that can been investigated and have been investigated by
objective science. The data are clear and convincing to those
with enough objectivity to see clearly. USING GENETICALLY
ENGINEERED INSECT RESISTANT PLANTS CUTS RELEASE
OF CEHMICALS INTO THE ENVIRONMENT SIGNIFICANTLY!!!!!!
SAVING MANY MORE ANIMALS/INSECTS THAT ARE LOST BY
THE RARE POLLEN THAT LEAVES THE FIELD...WHICH CAN BE
PREVENTED FROM EXPRESSING THE INSECT-RESISTANCE
GENE!

Eleventh, The statement that genetically engineered crops have
been shown to be less nutritious is NONSENSE. I know of no
studies that have shown that genetically engineered varieties are
different or less nutritious than conventional or organic varieties.
In fact, the opposite is true. Genetic engineering puts KNOWN
GENES/PROTEINS into plants. This is much more powerful than
conventional breeding which brings BLOCKS of unknown genes
together into varieties that are then EMPIRICALLY tested for their
superiority. The potential is there is make crops MORE
NUTRITIOUS AND BETTER FOR HUMAN HEALTH than
conventional varieties. PLANTS WERE NOT PUT ON THIS
EARTH FOR PEOPLE....RATHER THEY WERE PUT HERE TO
ENSURE THEIR OWN SURVIVAL. As such, they are optimized
for the plant's life cycle and not for the human life cycle. MAN has
engineered plants to be MORE optimally suited for our health
and nutrition. But the perfect plant does not yet exist! However,
genetic engineering CAN/WILL one day do that!! Case in point,
the golden rice recently developed by my friend Ingo Potrykus in
Switzerland. Many plants do not synthesize vitamin A which is
needed for eye development. Many 10's of thousands of children
in the developing world have serious and even fatal diseases
because of Vitamin A deficiency. Ingo took genes from a plant
that synthesizes Vitamin A and engineered rice (which does not)
to be able synthesize Vitamin A. This rice can now be eaten by
children in order to obtain an adequate amount of Vitamin A to
prevent blindness and other diseases. THIS ENGINEERED
RICE IS MORE NUTRITIOUS -- meaning has a molecule
(Vitamin A) than helps human health and development. And this
is only the beginning.

Twelfth, the statement that farmers cannot plant back their seeds
from year to year SHOWS A COMPLETE IGNORANCE OF
GENETICS! Farmers can plant back seeds from conventional
varieties. However, HYBRID SEEDS (genetically engineered or
not) need to be produced each year. WHY? Hybrids are crosses
between two parental lines. They are valuable because NEW
GENES ARE COMBINED IN THE OFFSPRING. According to the
experiments of Mendel 150 years ago, these gene combinations
segregate and assort in the next generation! Any HIGH SCHOOL
BIOLOGY STUDENT KNOWS THIS! Hybrids are much higher
yielding than non-hybrid plants. You may know that we did a lot of
pioneering work in this area to be able to produce hybrid crops
that did not exist before -- like oilseed rape -- and get 30%
increases in yield That means, 30% increase in numbers of
plants on the SAME amount of space! Hybrids have to be made
NEW every year..by anyone...genetic engineer, organic farmer,
conventional breeder. THAT'S A FACT OF BIOLOGY!

However, recent work has the GOAL of using genetic
engineering to produce hybrids WITHOUT conventional crosses
-- that is, make seeds without fertilization. This is the "holy grail"
of plant genetics these days and if successful it will mean that
genetic engineering can produce HYBRID VARIETIES IN WHICH
THE FARMERS WILL, I REPEAT WILL, BE ABLE TO KEEP THEIR
SEEDS AND RE-PLANT YEAR AFTER YEAR HYBRID CROPS.
This can only be done with genetic engineering because there
are plants that naturally do this -- like dandelions -- and if we can
transfer those genes from dandelions to soybeans, corn, wheat
we can make the hybrids which are higher yielding and then
allow the plant to produce seeds forever without ever making the
genetic cross again!

Thirteenth, we live in a market system. FARMERS ARE THE
ONES THAT HAVE ADOPTED GENETICALLY ENGINEERED
VARIETIES. WHY, BECAUSE, THEY MAKE MORE MONEY. No
corporation holds a monopoly on agriculture or any other
segment of society in which technology is rapidly advancing.
Besides, look at Microsoft...there ARE antitrust laws in this
country! Are the organic farmers using PCs with Windows? I
doubt whether Wild Oats or Whole Foods Markets would survive
long without making a profit. FARMERS HAVE ADOPTED
GENETICALLY ENGINEERED VARIETIES. BUT THEY HAVE
ALWAYS ADOPTED NEW TECHNOLOGIES. AND SEED
COMPANIES EXISTED THAT SOLD SUPERIOR VARIETIES OF
SEEDS TO FARMERS BEFORE GENETIC ENGINEERING WAS
INVENTED. It's a market system....farmers will buy the most
superior forms of seeds and will be able to make a greater
profit...and grow higher yielding crops...on less land! Everyone is
a winner. In the past Land Grant Universities developed seeds
and gave them to farmers...but that has been taken over by
SEED COMPANIES. I think that's the "American way" and IT
WORKS!

Fourteenth, more is known about genes/proteins that are
engineered into plants than the proteins that are mobilized in by
conventional methods -- which are unknown and not
characterized. Allergens are proteins that are well-known and
have certain properties. There are 50,000 proteins in a
plant....different ones..only a very, very, very small number are
potential allergens. Clearly, there are foods that a small number
of people are and will be allergic to -- shellfish, dairy products,
wheat products, etc. Can we predict who will be allergic to these
foods? NO. Are many people allergic to these foods? NO. Do we
stop producing/using these foods because a small number of
people are allergic to these foods? NO. Do people have
allergies to foods produced conventionally and by ORGANIC
techniques. YES. Is there a significant risk...NO.

Fifteenth, humans have a digestive system. We have been
eating billions of plant GENES for 100s OF THOUSANDS OF
YEARS! And the genes of other creatures! There is absolutely no
evidence that we are taking up genes from plants into our
chromosomes. And we are certainly not green. The DNA/genes
are broken down by our digestive system that naturally breaks
down DNA from broken cells in our bodies (and I might add,
uses the nucleotides or break down products as raw materials
to make new genes...and these raw materials/nucleotides are
UNIVERSAL in all organisms!). Antibiotic resistance genes in
plants are similarly broken down in our digestive system. And
even if they are not, there is no evidence that these genes could
be incorporated in to the trillion or so cells in the human body!
However, let's assume...for the sake of DISCUSSION...that they
were taken up by a few cells....what would the consequences
be? NOTHING. The engineered genes work only in plants. They
cannot be switched on in humans. In addition, the antibiotic
resistant protein would only be in specific human cells NOT IN
THE BACTERIA which would be the target of medical treatment
with antibiotics! Simply put, if the genes escaped the digestive
enzymes they would be taken up by human cells. And they would
be inactive in these cells and would not be in the bacterial
targets of the antibiotic. Finally, assuming the one in a ZILLION
chance that an engineered antibiotic resistance gene got into a
bacteria in the human gut what would happen? NOTHING -- the
gene was engineered to be active in a PLANT and would not be
able to be switched on in the bacteria. I could go on, but anyone
who has taken a simple course in MOLECULAR BIOLOGY would
know that the antibiotic resistance gene transfer scenario is not
plausible....it's BIOLOGICALLY FLAWED AND INCORRECT.

FINALLY, I have no problem with organic farming, food, or people
who want to eat organic foods. I think it is an important
agricultural niche. However, organic farming cannot "feed the
world." Genetic engineering represents an extension of what
man has been doing for tens of thousands of years...CORN was
genetically engineered by man from teosinte...a wild
grass...WHEAT was genetically engineered by man....etc., etc.
These crops DO NOT EXIST IN "NATURE." That is a FACT. The
goal of agriculture has always been to DOMESTICATE plants
and animals for the good of man. Genetic engineering IS THE
FUTURE. It has the potential to increase yields and allow crops
to be grown under conditions which are not possible today. It
has the potential to make "foods for the future" -- which are
MORE NUTRITIOUS AND BETTER FOR HUMAN HEALTH AND
WELFARE than crops grown today. And it is our BEST HOPE for
feeding the 10 billion people that will be on this earth fifty years
from now.

The important point is that there needs to be many different
forms of agriculture and agricultural practices. And there needs
to be rationale solutions to our problems based on sound
science, objective science, and an open mind to a variety of
solutions to problems that WILL arise. I am disturbed by the
"anti-science" tone of the anti-GMO crowd. And I am disturbed by
the ideologically-driven zeal that drives them to fight genetic
engineering. Most of us who have SPENT OUR LIVES DOING
SCIENCE TO IMPROVE AGRICULTURE AND THE LIVES OF
PEOPLE are not wedded to one technology or one approach. We
want to ensure that there will be adequate food for all of
humanity and be able to do that by whatever methods can best
bring that about in a safe and productive way.

Finally, I wonder if the organic farmers use genetically
engineered DRUGS TO TREAT THEMSELVES AND THEIR
CHILDREN? I wonder if the organic farmers advocate stopping
the use of genetic engineering to produce better medicines (like
human insulin)? THE SCIENCE AND PRINCIPLES ARE THE
SAME -- WHETHER USING PLANTS, ANIMALS, BACTERIA,
WHATEVER! And I wonder how many organic farmers realize
how important genetic engineering is to the developing world.
There is no other way to INCREASE the YIELD of plants
sufficiently to feed 10 billion people in the future and to do it,
eventually, without a high input from chemicals.

Michael....please tell your organic magazine-editor-friend that he
is welcome to take a couple of my courses at UCLA. AFTER that I
wonder how he will feel when he understands the SCIENCE.
Ask him to talk to my non-science students who love organically
grown tomatoes, but also know how important genetic
engineering is to improving humanity. And one final comment...IF
YOUR ORGANIC-EDITOR-FRIEND HAS SERIOUS CONCERNS
ABOUT PLANT GENETIC ENGINEERING, ASK HIM TO FUND
RESEARCH BY SERIOUS SCIENTISTS IN ORDER TO
SOLVE/OBTAIN SOLUTIONS TO HIS CONCERNS. TALK IS
VERY, VERY CHEAP.

take care, bobg
--
Professor Bob Goldberg
Department of Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology,
University of California
405 Hilgard Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1606