Crop Biotech Update

Nobel Laureates: Fear of GM Crops Prevents Society from Benefiting from the Technology

December 12, 2018

The 2018 winners of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, Professor Frances Arnold from the United States and Sir Gregory Winter of the United Kingdom, say that excessive concerns about genetically modified (GM) foods are preventing society from benefiting from the technology.

"We've been modifying the biological world at the level of DNA for thousands of years," Professor Arnold said at a news conference. "Somehow there is this new fear of what we already have been doing and that fear has limited our ability to provide real solutions," she added. Professor Arnold argued that GM crops could make food production more environmentally sustainable and help feed the world's growing population. Sir Gregory Winter, however, said that the current regulations on GM crops need to be "loosened up."

The Nobel Laureates made the comments on Monday, December 10, 2018, during the presentation of the prize. Professor Frances Arnold and Sir Gregory Winter received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry this year, together with American scientist George Smith, for their work in harnessing evolution to produce new enzymes and antibodies. Their work led to the development of new fuels and pharmaceuticals by making use of nature's evolutionary processes themselves, leading to medical and environmental advances.

Read more from Central Maine and The Guardian.