A modified salvation

Madsen Pirie

Owen Paterson, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs secretary, has said that GM food should be grown and sold widely in Britain. This is the cue for the floodgates to open for nonsensical and ill-informed warnings about the ‘hazards’ posed by genetically modified organisms. Even the heir to the throne has previously joined this ignorant chorus.

GM organisms will probably enable us to produce crops which fertilize themselves and protect themselves from pests. That will reduce the spread of fertilizers and pesticides. GM technology will probably give us crops that are saline tolerant, drought resistant, and which can thrive on marginal land. This reduces the incentive to clear rainforest land for agriculture.  GM organisms will enable the growth of crops that fight disease and malnutrition, and do a whole lot more besides. Far from constituting a menace, they will probably turn out to be the salvation of humankind, enabling us…

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