Beyond GM Food

Beyond GM Food: New Cutting Edge MAS Technology Makes GM Food Obsolete

By Jeremy Rifkin
Thursday 06 July 2006

For years, the life science companies – Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer, Pioneer, etc. – have argued that genetically modified (GM) food is the next great scientific and technological revolution in agriculture, and the only efficient and cheap way to feed a growing population in a shrinking world. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including my own, The Foundation on Economic Trends, have been cast as the villains in this unfolding agricultural drama, and often categorized as modern versions of the English Luddites, accused of continually blocking scientific and technological progress because of our opposition to GM food. Now, in an ironic twist, new cutting edge technologies have made gene splicing and transgenic crops obsolete and a serious impediment to scientific progress. The new frontier is called genomics and the new agricultural technology is called Marker Assisted Selection, or MAS. The new technology offers a sophisticated method to greatly accelerate classical breeding. A growing number of scientists believe that MAS – which is already being introduced into the market – will eventually replace GM food. Moreover, environmental organizations, like Greenpeace, that have long opposed GM crops, are guardedly supportive of MAS technology.

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