Belinda Martineau writes – “For more than 20 years now, scientists who promote the use of genetic engineering for producing food crops have largely neglected to mention the scientific uncertainties that accompany it, or even the fact that there have been commercialized GE crops that were found to be problematic and then pulled off the market.”
Readers may also be interested in the article by Food & Water Watch about this survey as well: “New GMO Survey Misleads,” by Tim Schwab, Food & Water Watch; December 6, 2016
Her post reminds me of this following quote: “A lack of truthfulness concerning the limits of scientific knowledge, motivations, expected benefits, and the basis of conflict can lead to significant misunderstandings and mistrust between scientists, policy makers, and the public.” See: “Essential Features of Responsible Governance of Agricultural Biotechnology,” by Sarah Hartley, Frøydis Gillund, Lilian van Hove & Fern Wickson, PLoS Biology, vol. 14, No. 5; May 4, 2016 (7 pages)
Belinda offers a unique perspective on GMOs because she actually holds patents in that field and is also able to remain objective and share her concerns. She describes herself, in part, in her blog: “Belinda Martineau, Ph.D., was a genetic engineer in a previous life. She helped bring the world’s first commercially available genetically engineered whole food, the Flavr Savr™ tomato, to market. During the development of that tomato, however, she was transformed from a devout believer in the promise of agricultural biotechnology into a skeptic wary of its uncertainties … Belinda thinks that scientists could be doing a better job of making ‘clear the entire situation’ about the science supporting agricultural biotechnology and she hopes to help rectify that situation with this blog. She also plans to take off her scientist’s hat and participate in discussions about how best to use and control the powerful technology of genetic engineering.”
Readers are encouraged to sign up to follow her blog and receive email notifications when she posts something new (she doesn’t post often).
I started this blog because I strongly believe that when a technology is heading out of scientific laboratories and into the public marketplace, it is the job of scientists who use it to provide the public and its government with full and accurate information about how that technology works and what its potential pitfalls might be. Only with all of the information available about the technology, including any uncertainties or aspects about it that could be cause for concern, can societies make the best possible decisions about whether or how best to use and regulate that technology.
I am not the only scientist who feels this way.
Great scientists like Richard Feynman encouraged scientists to be abjectly honest in explaining their science to lay people (see quotes on the “About” page of this blog). More recently, participants in a workshop on “Scientific Uncertainty and Professional Ethics,” conducted by the Environmental…
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