About the author

Matt is the author, co-author, secondary-author, ghost-author, and non-author of articles, speeches, book chapters, and even entire books! The most recent is his blockbuster The Accidental Activist, which Amazon claims is by his wife Anne Green. So it goes. Currently, he is President of One Step for Animals; previously, he was shitcanned from so many nonprofits that we can’t list them all here. Before Matt’s unfortunate encounter with activism, he was an aerospace engineer who wanted to work for NASA (to impress Carl Sagan). His hobbies include photography, almost dying, and {REDACTED}. He lives in Tucson with Anne, along with no dogs, no cats, no guinea pigs, and only the occasional snake or scorpion.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Avoiding GMOs? You'll be dead soon.

If you follow me on Facebook, you'll have seen a number of posts about genetically modified organisms (here's a good one). Or, as they are known in the modern world: basically everything.

What people don't realize is that just about all food produced by modern agriculture has had its genes modified. What would it look like if that wasn't the case?



What people don't seem to realize is that back in the 1950s and 60s, food scientists bombarded our crops with high doses of radiation to create mutations. They then grew the mutated crops to see if any of the expressed mutations were beneficial. Obviously, though, there was no way to know what all the mutations were doing. It was just taking a shotgun to the genome and hoping something good happened.

Now with techniques like CRISPR, we can intentionally turn on or off genes or insert a sequence of base pairs to provide exactly the change we would like (e.g., producing Vitamin A, which would help many millions avoid death and blindness, an outcome some oppose).

Which do you think has a greater impact on the genome: using a shotgun or a scalpel?

And for those who haven't seen this, we've manipulated the genomes of chickens, too.



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