January 22, 2010

Bt brinjal - Ban or Boon

I would like to draw your attention to a very nice Commentary written by Prof. G. Padmanaban from Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, that goes by the same title as this post. He has very elegantly brought out the issues with Bt brinjal in the current context, for easy reading and assimilation for even non science people. He very clearly explains the results and tests done to ensure human safety. And very importantly, he brings out a very important point that I have also been emphasising.... Scientists are as concerned for human safety and will therefore ensure adequate and appropriate testing before applying for commercial release.

This in my opinion is a very important point. Why would scientists deliberately bring out a wrong technology?? To earn a bad name for themselves and Science?? It really beats me how and why the activists make the scientists to be in-human?

The other valid points he raises in the paper are the suggestions to the Government of India and policy makers to put in place systems in the country, that would ensure appropriate use of genetically modified crops.

Such articles and papers are very good and needs to be published in newspapers, internet websites, magazines for wider circulation and understanding for all. Since I am involved in this kind of research I am only too aware of the fact that the world is too polarised on this subject and there are far too many myths and wrong information being maliciously spread by activists in the name of 'educating the masses'. More appallingly, many times I have been asked my media persons, indirectly of course, if I get funding from the MNCs to speak "for" GM - food!!

Here is an appeal to readers to educate themselves and I look forward to many more such papers that offer constructive suggestions and solutions rather than telling us "don't do this". As my Prof always says, the subtle shift in our mindset from "Don't do - ecology" to "Do - ecology" is the need of the hour.

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