Genetically Modified Planet: Environmental Impacts of Genetically Engineered Plants

Genetically Modified Planet: Environmental Impacts of Genetically Engineered Plants

Genetically Modified Planet: Environmental Impacts of Genetically Engineered Plants

Genetically Modified Planet: Environmental Impacts of Genetically Engineered Plants

Synopsis

Genetically modified plants are currently causing controversy worldwide; a great deal has been written about their supposed environmental effects. However, the newspaper headlines and public debates often provide a level of reasoning akin to "this is your brain on genetically modified corn," which is to say, they exclude or exaggerate the actual scientific research on the impacts of these plants. Genetically Modified Planet goes beyond the rhetoric to investigate for concerned consumers the actual state of scientific research on genetically modified plants. Stewart argues that while there are indeed real and potential risks of growing engineered crops, there are also real and overwhelmingly positive environmental benefits.

Excerpt

This book is the natural outgrowth of several previous writing projects, including book chapters, review papers, and journal articles, public and professional presentations, and an undergraduate class I taught on the risks and benefits of biotechnology. In the midst of my course, I realized how much dubious information about biotechnology the typical freshman had accumulated in his or her brief lifetime. It became apparent that a book written for a general audience on the science of the environmental impacts of genetically modified plants was needed. In the process of writing this book, I have learned much about the science and even more (I hope) about communicating the subject to nonscientists. I’ve learned firsthand that it truly is easier to write to my peers using shop jargon than to effectively communicate to the people who are, perhaps, most concerned about the ramifications of science and technology. And that truly is the purpose of this book: to communicate and demystify biotechnology to the degree that the reader can go beyond newspaper headlines to critically examine the issues. There is power in the understanding of relative risks and benefits of any technology. There is certainly value in better understanding agriculture—to go beyond the supermarket to visit the source of where our food comes from—and examining the role of genetics in farming. If this book accomplishes nothing else, I’ll be satisfied to know that people have a better grasp of how agriculture really works as a result of reading it.

Many people have enabled the writing of this book. The members of my lab crew always amaze me with their hard work and insights. Without . . .

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