• Question: What are your views on genetic engineering?

    Asked by theoxmas18 to Richard, Reka, Paul, Omar, Oliver, Kevin, Judith, Hannah, Gemma, Emma, David, Bobby, Anthony on 3 Jan 2019.
    • Photo: Gemma Chandratillake

      Gemma Chandratillake answered on 3 Jan 2019:

      It is very useful technology. I don’t think there is inherently anything morally good or bad about the technology, it all depends on how it is applied.

    • Photo: Reka Nagy

      Reka Nagy answered on 4 Jan 2019:

      It can be very useful in some situations – for example, making plants hardier and helping them resist pathogens, droughts or extreme weather without the need for harmful pesticides and by using less fertiliser (the production of which, on an industrial scale, is not exactly environmentally friendly).

      The same goes for animals which can be engineered (or even bred, as it has been done for centuries) to produce more milk, more meat, and again, be more resistant to disease.

      There is a lot of opposition against GMOs (genetically modified organisms), as they say it is unnatural, but a lot of this opposition is unwarranted – plant and animal breeders have been trying to ‘bring out the best’ in their organisms for centuries, gene editing technologies can get there a lot faster and take out some of the guesswork.

      However, our desire to engineer things to be more appealing to consumers can sometimes backfire – for example, this video (https://youtu.be/mqrqhvpwCyc) explains why tomatoes seem a lot more flavourless now – because they are! Turns out, the genes that give the tomato its nice uniform red colour also affect the flavour molecules of the tomato – resulting in a pretty, red, but ultimately not very flavourful plant!


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