This is how you kick off a biotech convention:
On Monday, the Nobel Prize in Medicine Richard J. Roberts accused the political interests of some parties, especially environmentalists, of “demonizing” GM foods when there is no scientific evidence of their health prejudices and they “are a solution to combat hunger in the world”.
Roberts, who inaugurated on Monday a Biotechnology convention in Havana, said “there is not a single scientific school in the world that finds genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to be dangerous“.
Roberts recalled that the lack of food is one of the greatest challenges humanity will be facing in the coming years, “greater than wars or diseases”, with the expected increase in population, which only affect the countries developing, not the developed ones.
About the campaign to demonize these organisms, Roberts said those messages come mainly from the European Union, which has banned such crops as part of a “political strategy” to prevent multinationals like Monsanto to control the distribution of food in its territory.
“It’s very dangerous, even tragic,” Roberts said, because they are also sending that message to developing countries where they do need GM crops to meet the food demand of their inhabitants.
The Nobel blamed green parties and environmental organizations such as Greenpeace of leading the current of anti-GMO opinion, while “millions of people still die from lack of food”.
“It should be considered a crime against humanity and should face trial against international tribunals for it”, said the scientist who won the Nobel in 1993 for his work on the introns, DNA fragments that contain genetic information. “We need more science within the political and less politics in the world of science”, he added.
That the complaint is made in Cuba is even more curious — the Castro regime may well be a nightmare, but even they can distinguish between the technology and the business model, to the point there’s GMO research being done in Cuba.
And Roberts could have gone further: the setting was more than ideal for expressing that such unscientific ideological agenda is at the service of the ‘organic’ industry economic interests because, to them, GMOs are a threat to their business model — c’mon, what’s sold as resistance to laissez-faire capitalism, actually is nothing more than propaganda to get rid of the competition and ensure a monopoly on the market.
(Image: Toffee Maky via photopin cc)