GMOs a Safe and Reliable Tool for Keeping the World's Growing Population FedWed, 02 Nov 2016 15:24:30 CDT
The Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University recently hosted Biotech University, a conference designed to give participants an inside look and a working knowledge of the cutting-edge research being done at the institute. In attendance was Radio Oklahoma Network’s Associate Farm Director Carson Horn. During the conference Horn had the chance to visit with Dr. Kenneth Roland, associate professor of research, about his perspective on the benefits and applications of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.
“GMOs were developed to help farmers and to help feed the world - to develop plants that were either resistant to plant pathogens such as bacteria or viruses or to grow in environments that aren’t really plant friendly,” Roland explained.
Dr. Roland cites the St. Louis based seed company Monsanto as the leader is GMO crop development. He insists that despite the well-intended purpose behind the development of these plants, Monsanto has faced backlash from the public due to controversial allegations of the potential health risks that GMO consumption poses.
“Monsanto led the way with their Round-Up Ready products which really I think helped farmers a lot,” Roland said. “But they weren’t prepared for the public backlash. They didn’t realize that their market was going to have to be the public.”
Some concerns are valid and perhaps do warrant more research, Dr. Roland says, using the possible effects GMOs have on nearby plant populations as an example. But he says concerns regarding the consumption of foreign DNA and the alleged health risks are inconsequential and maintains his personal opinion that GMOs are in fact safe.
“Some of the valid concerns get lost in the noise of some of the less probable concerns,” Roland said. “I think a lot of the questions that people are focusing on GMOs are the same kind of questions that could focus on any crop plant.”
In his mind, Dr. Roland believes that GMO plants and crops have already begun to solve some of the world’s hunger issues and he says they will be crucial in keeping people fed in the future as well.
“I think we have to keep relying on technology,” Roland said. “As long as our population growth keeps going up - and it appears to be - I think we need to keep developing new ways to provide more food.”
Listen to Dr. Kenneth Roland of the Biodesign Institute speak with RON’s Associate Farm Director Carson Horn about the public’s misconception of GMOs, by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below.
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