The following is an excerpt of an article in the Dubois (Ind.) County Herald on the safety of genetically modified seeds.
Food production was the hot topic Friday morning at the second annual Southwest Indiana Agriculture Economic Summit.
Dubois Strong and the Dubois County Purdue Extension hosted the event at Vincennes University Jasper Campus and brought professionals from across the various aspects of agribusiness to present on issues facing farming including weather, business challenges, organic farming and GMOs, or genetically modified organisms.
In agriculture, GMOs are seeds that have had their genes edited to produce desired effects in the plant when it grows.
GMOs are a particularly controversial aspect of food production today due to a handful of studies that found possible health risks with the modified plants, such as cancer. Peter Goldsbrough, a professor in Purdue University’s Botany and Plant Pathology Department, came to Jasper to explain the new crops. His argument was that GMO foods are safe.
Goldsbrough said 88 percent of scientists think GMOs are safe for consumption, and 37 percent of the public agrees. He figures the disparity is because GMOs involve people’s food and genetics, two topics that can cause fear.
“We’ve done some not very nice things in the name of genetics in the past,” he said.
Scientists developed GMOs in the 1980s when they developed methods to transfer DNA from other organisms into plants to create various effects, most commonly herbicide, disease and pest resistance. Scientists generally use a bacteria called Agrobacterium tumefaciens, which causes crown gall disease in plants in nature.
In the lab, however, scientists use the bacteria’s ability to remove and replace genes in plants to insert genes the scientists choose. The inserted genes can come from any organism, Goldsbrough said, though scientists generally use genes from bacteria.
To read the entire article, please visit The Herald website.