We have to give a shout-out to freelance science writer Kavin Senapathy for her interview on dnaindia.com. Senapathy eloquently conveys the facts on genetically modified food for the article: Organic vs GM: finding the grain of truth.
When asked why she advocates the consumption of genetically modified foods, Senapathy quotes the father of the Green Revolution, Nobel Peace Prize winner, and ACSH co-founder Norman Borlaug: "There are 6.6 billion people on the planet today. With organic farming we could only feed four billion of them. Which two billion would volunteer to die?" She makes the point that genetic engineering is necessary to feed the world s predicted future population of 9 billion by 2050, while also offering benefits to industry, people, as well as the environment.
Senapathy points out that while there s nothing necessarily wrong with organic foods, the organic movement leads anti-biotech zealotry. For most people without scientific expertise, there is the rampant belief that organic equates to all-natural, wholesome, and fresh, and that buying organic is the best way to be healthy which is not the case. Senapathy clarifies, I am not against organic farmers themselves. But I'm definitely against intense lobbying from the top of the organic industry.
She then corrects one of the biggest misconceptions about GMOs by challenging the term GMO industry: Genetic modification is not actually a single process that occurs in the labs of Monsanto. First I should say I don't see it as a GMO industry. Rather, I see it is a genetic engineering toolbox, a set of plant breeding technologies. Personally, I'm not a fan of the ubiquitous term "GMO" because it's arbitrary. What many people aren t aware of is that many foods have been genetically modified in a variety of ways, and yet can still be sold as organic and these methods (such as treating wheat with gamma radiation) have been used for decades.
We commend Kavin Senapathy for her logical and scientifically accurate advocacy of GMOs, and hope readers of DNA India who may be less knowledgeable on the subject will be enlightened by her responses.