Seed World

Scientists Begin To Seize the High Ground

More than 100 Nobel Laureates from diverse disciplines voiced support for GMO precision agriculture and called on leaders of Greenpeace, the United Nations and governments around the world to join them. The Laureates — winners in fields including medicine, economics, physics, chemistry, literature and peace — have all signed an open letter asking Greenpeace and others who have been blocking progress and access to beneficial plant biotechnology products, such as Golden Rice, to abandon their campaigns against GMOs.
Richard Roberts (1993 – Physiology or Medicine), Professor Martin Chalfie (2008 – Chemistry) and Professor Randy Schekman (2013 – Physiology or Medicine) introduced the campaign June 30 at a press conference in Washington, D.C.
“In our letter, we call upon Greenpeace and like organizations to end their shameful campaign of propaganda and criminal destruction of crops improved by modern genetic technologies, such as GMOs,” Roberts said. “We call on governments and world organizations to do everything in their power to oppose anti-GMO obstruction and to accelerate farmer access to the life-saving tools provided by modern biotechnology.”
The Laureates urged policy makers, the public and others to come together and add their names to the list of signers and asked how many poor people in the world must die before we consider this a “crime against humanity,” stating that opponents to the technology have misrepresented their risks, benefits and impacts, and supported the criminal destruction of approved field trials and research projects.
The full letter is available to read at
Finally, the greater scientific community is saying what those in agriculture have known for a long time. But it’s taken far too long for scientific notables to “seize the high ground.”
Seize the High Ground

At the American Seed Trade Association’s 2014 Annual Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, two-term Indiana governor and president of Purdue University Mitch Daniels explained that “feeding 9 billion people by 2050” is not a projected number that might happen; it’s a mathematical certainty.
“This fear of technology and apprehension is not new,” Daniels said. “We have wealthy people who fear this technology saying ‘if you can’t eat, that’s your problem.’ This is a moral argument and that high ground needs to be seized and taken.
“It’s bogus to try and alarm people with these fictional stories. Those who oppose GMOs should be labeled as cruel, heartless and immoral with their anti-stories.”
More and more, leaders and the scientific community agree that given today’s technologies currently in use and the technologies coming down the pipeline, there’s no reason why the seed industry and agriculture can’t meet the grand challenge of feeding 9 billion people by 2050.
More about GMOs
Given all the discussion about GM technology and its use, the Seed World editorial team covered the technology in depth for the June 2016 issue. For a history of the technology, check out “From Corgis to Corn.” To better understand how to communicate about GMOs, read “Lessons Learned.” Or explore adoption, dependence and benefits with “Around the World.” Or you can read the entire issue online, GMOs – Yes or No