Jon Morgan: GE – 10,000 years in the making

The Dominion Post’s Jon Morgan interviews visiting genetic modification expert Professor Pamela Ronald.

An excerpt: (read in full here)

“Professor Ronald, a specialist in genetically engineering rice, says it doesn’t make sense that mutation breeding is allowed in New Zealand and GE is not. She raises her hand to eye level.

“‘The National Academy of Sciences [the United States’ most respected science body], puts the risk of unintended consequences from mutation breeding up here.'”

“She lowers her hand to her knees. ‘And the risks from GE down here. Yet mutation breeding is certified organic and GE is not.'”

“Labelling foods GE and allowing the consumer to decide would not be useful, she says. Carry that argument over to organic produce and it could see labels stating that organic produce treated with rotenone, a ‘natural’ pesticide, ‘may contain trace amounts of rotenone – chronic exposure can cause damage to liver and kidney”, or mutant breeding, “carries a genetic mutation induced by radiation mutagenesis, resulting in the presence of a mutant protein’.”