GMOs haven’t delivered on their promises — or risks | Science News

Be a Champion for Science

Get your subscription to

Science News when you join.


Feature

GMOs haven’t delivered on their promises — or risks

After plenty of study, safety worries haven’t surfaced, but big promises remain unfulfilled

By
12:00pm, January 29, 2016
salmon

SHELF LIFE  Plenty of genetically modified foods appear in supermarkets and have undergone extensive study. Still, they remain controversial and haven’t yet made good on the promise to end world hunger. 

Arriving home after work a few summers ago, agricultural economist Matin Qaim found several disturbing messages on his home phone. A study by Qaim had shown that small-scale farmers in India who grew genetically modified cotton had larger harvests compared with conventional cotton growers. Those better yields resulted in greater profits for the mostly poor farmers and more disposable income to spend on basics like food and education.

Several media outlets had covered the results, which had been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. But journalists weren’t the only people contacting Qaim about the research. “Don’t support this irresponsible destruction to the environment,” implored one caller on Qaim’s answering machine. “Think of your children, think of the world’s children,” a woman pleaded.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join the Society today or Log in.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News