Developing countries bigger fans of GMOs


For thousands of years, food has been modified by breeding plants with desirable traits together.

Scientists have been tinkering with genetically modified organisms for years.

Scientific American Senior Editor Josh Fischman said scientists can now genetically modify food faster and more precisely than has ever been done in the past.

“Now, what we can do in the lab, is identify the DNA responsible for particular traits and we can use a kind of molecular scissors to insert that trait,” said Fischman.

He said almost everything we eat has been genetically modified in one way or another and with the latest technology, it's getting easier to modify food genes with more desirable traits.

As the trend is moving towards more GMOs, Americans and European shoppers are more skittish to use them for fear they're not "natural".

“Farmers in Africa or in parts of Asia, they’re more accepting because getting enough calories and getting the right kinds of calories isn’t taken for granted in those parts of the world, the way we do take it here,” said Fischman.

He said the US regulatory agencies have adopted a go-slow approach to approve genetically modified foods and expects that to continue for another 10-15 years.

The AP reports:

The National Academy of Sciences has declared gene editing one of the breakthroughs needed to improve food production.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture found extra rules aren’t needed for about two dozen gene-edited crops “plants that could otherwise have been developed through traditional breeding”.

The U.S. has joined 12 nations to get other countries to adopt internationally consistent, science-based rules for gene-edited agriculture.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposed tighter, drug-like restrictions on gene-edited animals last year.

Koltsov Institute of Developmental Biology

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