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Agricultural News

Jayson Lusk Offers Strong Defense of Frankenfoods As a Key to Feed Future Generations

Mon, 20 Oct 2014 12:32:55 CDT

Jayson Lusk Offers Strong Defense of Frankenfoods As a Key to Feed Future Generations Oklahoma State University Ag Economist Dr. Jayson Lusk has written an extensive defense of transgenic breeding of plants- the result otherwise known as GMOs. His article, entitled In Defense of Frankenfoods, has been published in the Fourth Quarter 2014 edition of the Milken Institute Review. Dr. Lusk begins the article by pointing out that US farmers adopted GMO technology faster than any other technology in recent memory- "More than a quarter of American farmers snatched up seeds for genetically engineered soybeans, corn and cotton (the source of cottonseed oil) within three years of their commercialization. By contrast, it took more than 13 years after the cellphone was available for a quarter of Americans to own one, and 26 years after the widespread availability of TV for it to achieve that same feat. Last year, 90 percent of corn and cotton acreage was planted with a genetically engineered variety; at 94 percent, soybeans managed even greater market penetration."

Dr. Lusk goes on to say that it is most accurate to call these crops "genetically engineered" rather than genetically modified- as nature has been modifying the genetics of crops and animals for centuries.

"While it is possible to be pro-biotechnology without being pro-Monsanto, such a nuanced position is difficult to maintain in the current atmosphere. It seems that many suffer from what might be called Monsanto Derangement Syndrome, buying into all sorts of conspiracy theories. Yet genetically engineered foods are no more synonymous with Monsanto than hamburgers are with McDonald's. When anti-Monsanto became de facto anti-biotechnology, many left-leaning commentators chose to swim with the tide. Thus emerged a (justifiable) belief that many on the left were anti-science on the issue of biotechnology. In the words of journalist Keith Kloor (writing for Slate), opponents of genetically engineered food "are the climate skeptics of the left." Although there is some truth to this observation, the political reality is more complex."

Dr. Lusk concludes in his defense of genetically engineered crops that "Biotechnology is not the answer to all of the world's food problems. And proponents of genetically engineered food have, at times, been guilty of overpromising. But given the confluence of tightening water supplies, climate change, rising demand for meat in emerging-market countries like India and China, and a growing world population, genetic engineering will be necessary if we are to feed future generations at reasonable cost. "

Click here to review the full article from the Milken Institute Review.



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