Once a month the Big Picture Science Podcast does something called “Skeptic Check” where they do a more in-depth look at various topics. The latest episode was about asking questions about the safety of GMO. This is a topic I take very seriously because I think GM or GE food will be a big driver towards feeding the world and helping the environment. As a vegan, I come across anti-GMO sentiment all the time and it’s usually based in awful, terrible science. It’s the same kind of anti-science views that have infected the conservative and sometimes libertarian views on climate change. GMO and climate change mitigation will be very much intertwined in the future, in my opinion.
This episode was pretty good, overall. I wish the hosts had been tougher on the anti-GMO representative, but I’m sure I’m biased. I just felt the the arguments presented against GMO were really GMO related, but really just aspects of all farming. The need for crop rotation, new seeds every year, no-till soil management exist no matter what farming method you use. I thought it was interesting that non-GMO seeds, so-called “hybrids” can not be used for more than one year either. That’s typically considered a GMO trait.
It should also be noted, as mentioned in this podcast, almost none of the food we eat exists in nature. It’s all engineered by humans to suit our needs. Non-GMO breeding is essentially throwing a couple strains together and see what happens. It’s why we have so-called “killer bees”. GMO is attempting to move only a few genes a time, but genes we know something about. The latter seems safer to me.