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