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Some potato stories: A multiple tale of “anti-GMO” detrimental nonsense

The expression “genetically modified organisms” (“GMOs”) is not only void of scientific value, but has negative effects on agricultural progress and food policy, writes Giovanni Molteni Tagliabue  in this article published by European Scientist.

He says the history of crop domestication offers many examples of failed experiments: each unlucky outcome, considered on the merit of its individual pros and cons, was discarded if unsatisfactory, whether it was created using recombinant DNA or other biotech methods.

According to Tagliabue, “Anti-GMOers” show a “peculiar, recurrent absence of logic when they demonize “GMOs” as a supposed whole, on the basis of alleged dangers related to this or that single DNA-spliced variety. It is an illicit pluralization.”

The detrimental consequences of applying the nonsensical “GMO” pseudo-category in the agri-food biotech area is shown through several examples taken from the world of potatoes, Tagliabue writes – with different stories and trajectories of recombinant DNA, mutagenized and traditionally bred varieties.

Scholars and science communicators should abandon the use of the misleading “GMO” term and of the related warped meme, Tagliabue figures.

The expression “genetically modified organisms” is scientifically meaningless and semantically dubious, according to him. He says that “the most beloved tuber on this planet will help us to show the foolishness of the bogus ‘GMO’ category, and consequently, how counterproductive its effects are.

Tagliabue then cite examples from the US, the UK and the European Union to back up his argument, saying that “These stories have surely shown that “GMO(s)” is a misleading notion, a damaging meme that should dissolve: in time, it will be considered a subject as interesting as the sex of angels used to be.”

He concludes: “Hope persists: ‘The advantages of GM technology to improve the potato crop, reduce pesticide use, increase yields, and lower production costs will continue to provide incentive for integration of this technology into potato breeding and commercial crop production.’ (Grafius, Douches 2008, 214) If only regulators and consumers could free themselves from the “GMO” bugbear…

Read the full article in European Scientist here.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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