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Genomics researcher Alison Van Eenennaam, with Monsanto's Robert Fraley, argues that genetically modified foods have increased farmers' yields and earnings across the world. Samuel LaHoz/Intelligence Squared U.S. hide caption

toggle caption Samuel LaHoz/Intelligence Squared U.S.

Manyplants we consume today are due to genetic changes that will never ever take place in nature. Boffins have for ages been altering the genes of meals crops, to boost meals production and also to make plants more pest-, drought- and cold-resistant.

Proponents of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, state that farmers whom develop these crops can make use of fewer environmentally damaging pesticides. The increased yields of GMO plants, they also argue, are crucial to feeding the planet's growing populace. And proponents state that lots of research reports have shown that genetically modified foods are safe for eating.

Critics, however, say the claims of the advantages are overblown. They state farmers growing GMO plants have actually actually increased their use of herbicides. And extensive use of the plants, they state, have generated a rise in herbicide- and pesticide-resistant weeds and insects. And, they argue, there is still no scientific opinion regarding the long-lasting safety of those foods.

Four scientists recently took in those questions in an Intelligence Squared U.S. debate, dealing with down two against two on the movement, «Genetically Modify Food.» In these Oxford-style debates, the group that sways the most people to its part by the end is the winner.

Prior to the debate, the audience within Kaufman musical Center in ny voted 32 per cent in favor of the movement, with 30 % against and 38 % undecided. Later, 60 % agreed because of the motion, and 31 % disagreed — making along side it arguing and only the motion the winners of the debate.

Debate: Should We Genetically Modify Food?

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Robert Fraley is executive vice president and main technology officer at Monsanto, where he has worked for more than three decades. He presently oversees their global technology unit which includes plant breeding, biotechnology and crop protection research facilities in lots of nations. Fraley has authored over 100 magazines and patent applications. In 2013, he had been honored as some sort of Food Prize Laureate and is the recipient of various honors, like the 2008 nationwide Academy of Sciences Award for the Industrial Application of Science for their focus on crop improvement therefore the National Medal of Technology from President Clinton in 1999.

AlisonVan Eenennaam is a genomics and biotechnology researcher and cooperative extension specialist within the Department of Animal Science at University of Ca, Davis. The mission of the woman expansion system is «to provide research and education in the use of animal genomics and biotechnology in livestock production systems.» Her outreach program centers on the development of science-based educational materials, including the controversial biotechnologies of genetic engineering and cloning. She has served on several nationwide committees including the USDA National Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture, so that as a short-term voting person in the 2010 Food And Drug Administration Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee conference in the AquAdvantage salmon, a genetically engineered Atlantic salmon. Van Eenennaam ended up being the receiver associated with 2014 Borlaug CAST Communication Award.

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Science policy consultant Margaret Mellon contends that genetically modified plants have motivated the evolution of resistant weeds and pests. Samuel LaHoz/Intelligence Squared U.S. hide caption

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Charles Benbrook is an investigation teacher at Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources at Washington State University, and leader for the center's program Measure to Manage: Farm and Food Diagnostics for Sustainability and wellness. Their career has dedicated to developing science-based systems for assessing people wellness, environmental and financial impacts of alterations in agricultural systems, technology and policy. He spent 1st 18 several years of their career employed in Washington, D.C., first the Executive Office associated with the President, then as the staff director for a U.S. House of Representatives agricultural subcommittee. He was the executive director of the National Academy of Sciences Board on Agriculture, and contains run a little consulting company since 1991. He served since the chief scientist the natural Center, located in Washington, D.C., from 2004 to 2012, and contains offered as an appointed user on USDA's Advisory Committee on 21st Century Agriculture since 2011. His 2012 peer-reviewed study documenting the big upsurge in herbicide usage set off by the planting of genetically engineered crops in the U.S. happens to be downloaded over 110,000 times.

Margaret Mellon is a technology policy consultant into the regions of antibiotics, hereditary engineering and sustainable agriculture. She holds a doctorate in molecular biology and a law level from University of Virginia. In 1993, Mellon founded the Food and Environment Program within Union of Concerned experts to promote the use of science-based agriculture systems that are at the same time effective, environmentally harmless and resilient facing stress. This system critically evaluated products of hereditary engineering because of their share to sustainable farming and urged the reduction of unnecessary antibiotic use within animal farming. After very nearly 20 years, Mellon stepped down as head associated with the system in 2012 and, after two additional years as a senior scientist, left UCS in 2014. Mellon has posted widely regarding prospective environmental impacts of biotechnology applications, and served three terms on USDA's Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture.

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