Letter: Engineered crops
Friday 14 August 1998
All plants, and all animals including humans, are genetically modified. That is what evolution means. They are genetically modified by natural selection of random mutations and recombinations. Some, such as maize, wheat, cabbages and roses are additionally modified by domestic breeding. And some are modified by engineered mutation or recombination.
Any of these three kinds of genetic modification can have desirable or undesirable consequences, for they all end up doing exactly the same thing: changing genomes. Some newspapers bear a heavy responsibility for whipping up ignorant hysteria over scientific matters.
Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science
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