Genetically modified crops -- what do scientists say?

ROCKVILLE, MD -- In covering the issue of genetically modified crops, the national media have generally reported the views of anti-biotech interest group representatives, biotechnology company spokespersons and of federal regulatory agency officials.

Often not reported in news stories in the national debate on this science question are the views of individual plant biologists. However, plant scientists with in-depth knowledge of modern transformation technologies offer views on this subject which merit public dissemination.

"Genetically Modified Crops: What Do The Scientists Say?" is a new special publication of the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) that provides the observations of prominent plant scientists concerning their own perspectives on modified crops. The publication is a collection of a dozen editorials published in ASPB's widely cited plant science journal, Plant Physiology from May 2000 to May 2001. (Headquartered in Rockville, Maryland, ASPB was formerly named the American Society of Plant Physiologists formed in 1924.)

Editor-in-Chief of Plant Physiology Dr. Natasha Raikhel of Michigan State University noted, "We (plant scientists) have an obligation to help people understand the reasoning behind scientific research and genetic technology."

Dr. Norman Borlaug, founder of the Green Revolution and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, offers his valuable insights into the role that biotechnology might play, if allowed to, in fighting world hunger. Dr. Ingo Potrykus of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and one of the creators of "Golden Rice," discusses the scientific, legal, and political hurdles that he and his colleagues are working to overcome to achieve their dream of providing vitamin-enhanced rice varieties for free to the poor of the world to prevent millions of children from being stricken blind.

Dr. Mae Berenbaum of the University of Illinois discusses the distortions of science that have

Contact: Brian Hyps
American Society of Plant Biologists

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