Has got to be GMO's. Or Genetically Modified Organisms. Or Genetically Engineered Foods. I wonder if they will change the acronym now? Or the simple term Biotechnology.
Anyway, it's something that has become a norm in the grocery store, in the legislative, and a top concern among consumers.
The topic is one of my top questions that I get asked. Last week I decided to take a quick trip to St. Louis to listen to some of the top players when it comes to GMO's. And when I say quick I mean I spent more time in an airport and the car than at the meeting.
But, I will have to say that it is one of the best meetings I have been to yet. The knowledge was abundant and I feel even more confident in saying we grow GMO's and I support them. Here's why.
First off the speakers we listened to are both considered "experts" in biotechnology. So, some may say it is a one sided opinion. However, it's hard to argue when these people have dedicated their lives to not only biotechnology but providing food to underprivileged countries and have made it a personal journey of solving the world's food problems.
We discussed everything from the definition of biotechnology v. traditional breeding to the labeling laws that are trying to get passed in various states (It recently failed in California).
Traditional breeding is something you will see in heirloom seeds or even in the different varieties in the greenhouse you may choose your garden plants from. In traditional breeding you basically are choosing from a parent line and select the traits you are looking for and creating a new plant.
With Biotechnology a trait is chosen in one plant and studied for years and that trait is very well understood before being put into another plant.
I often explain biotechnology as us nudging Mother Nature along. However, it was pointed out that for over 10,000 years we have been interfering with Mother Nature, selecting what we want in plants (traditional breeding) and making new plants. In biotechnology we have vast knowledge of one trait and we aren't creating something new we are simply putting that one trait into something else.
I wanted to get the basic definitions before I continue on with my findings at this meeting. So, look for more in the next couple of weeks about biotechnology, feeding the world, and the Danforth Science Center that is doing AMAZING things in St. Louis.