A team of Italian scientists just released a meta-study that looks at more than 1,700 reports on genetically modified crops over the past decade; by and large, it gives the technology a clean bill of health. Real Clear Science reports:
Led by Alessandro Nicolia, an applied biologist at the University of Perugia in Italy, the team collected and evaluated 1,783 research papers, reviews, relevant opinions, and reports published between 2002 and 2012, a comprehensive process that took 12 months to complete. The records covered all aspects of GM crop safety, from how the crops interact with the environment, to how they could potentially affect the humans and animals who consume them.
“Our goal was to create a single document where interested people of all levels of expertise can get an overview on what has been done by scientists regarding GE crop safety,” Nicolia told RCScience. “We tried to give a balanced view informing about what has been debated, the conclusions reached so far, and emerging issues.”
Overall, the scientific literature was heavily in favor of GM agriculture.
It’s been said before that the left’s opposition to GMOs (largely on the grounds that they’re strange and unnatural) is similar to the right’s denial that human’s have anything to do with climate change; that is, both positions ignore current scientific understanding for political or emotional expediency.
A prominent green and former rabid anti-GMO advocate saw the light earlier this year and acknowledged the good that the technology can do: namely, growing more and more resilient crops that can feed the world’s hungry. That it can do so without putting people’s health at risk is excellent news. If it forces some green introspection, then that’s good news too.