Saturday, November 10, 2007

The high cost of irrational fear

GM crops should now be growing in areas where no crops can grow: drought-resistant crops in arid soil and salt-resistant crops in soil of high salinity. Plant-based oral vaccines should now be saving millions of deaths from diarrhoea and hepatitis B; they can be ingested in orange juice, bananas or tomatoes, avoiding the need for injection and for trained staff to administer them and refrigeration to store them.

None of these crops is yet on the market. What has gone wrong? Were the promises unrealistic, or is GM technology, as its opponents claim, flawed— because of possible harm to human safety or the environment or because it is ill-suited to the needs of poor farmers in the developing world?

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