9 Pervasive Myths About Biotechnology

Published by Jennifer on April 06, 2010

Biotechnology is a controversial subject, for sale and depending on your point of view, viagra these myths might be dangerous or hold the seeds of truth.

Myth #1: Genetically engineered produce will eliminate the need for toxic pesticides.

Fact: Most engineered plants have been genetically altered to withstand herbicide so it can be used, or to produce their own insecticides. Example: Roundup Ready soybeans are literally created to withstand Roundup weed-killer.

Myth 2: Biotechnology will benefit Third World Farmers

Fact: Genetically engineered plants are patented and under corporate control, making them more expensive than indigenous crops.

Myth 3: Biotechnology benefits farmers in the US and other First World countries

Fact: Innovations in agriculture are largely profit-driven and the focus of genetic engineering is to create profitability. Farmers become dependent on industrial inputs that are patented and copyrighted and can’t even share, store or reproduce seeds.

Myth 4: Biotech produce has been rejected by consumers

Fact: According to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications, 222 million acres in 21 countries were used to grow biotech crops. That means farmers were buying them.

Myth 5: Biotechnology leads to the conservation of biodiversity

Fact: Biotech can create a variety of commercial plants, thus contributing to biodiversity, but it’s more advantageous to the patent-holders of biotech seeds to create international markets for their few, specialized products. In other words, it could happen, but it won’t.

Myth 6: Biotech crops will transfer herbicide resistant genes to nearby weeds, creating Superweeds!

Fact: It’s possible – some of the more problematic weeds are genetically close to the crops growing near them and cross-pollination could happen. Corn and canola cross-breed especially easily.

Myth 7: Genetically engineered crops will have a higher yield

Fact: According to Iowa State University economist Mike Duffy, who has conducted several studies on the economics of engineered crops, there are no findings that support an economic advantage to planting GE seeds (unless you’re a GE seed manufacturer or pesticide company).

Myth 8: Genetically modified corn kills butterflies

Fact: This myth came from a study at Cornell University that reported Monarch caterpillars in a laboratory setting died due to pollen from Bt corn. However, the researchers stress that the study was done in a lab, and therefore the findings are inconclusive regarding how Monarch butterflies are affected in the field.

Myth 9: Genetic engineering can make food taste better, last longer, and be more nutritious.

Fact: Yes, and no. Yes, the purple potato is a wonder of science – and thanks to the purpleness, it is a little healthier than your average spud. Melons at UC Davis are currently being engineered to smell better to entice people to buy them in the stores. But that’s the catch – Biotech companies will create what sells, not out of altruism, but out of economics.

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