Biotech Updates

Misinformation and Over-regulation Keeping GM Foods from Consumers

June 13, 2019

Professor Johnathan Napier, a leading pioneer in plant biotechnology who led the development of plants that produce heart-healthy omega-3 fish oils, says that "misinformation and over-regulation are stopping or slowing several GM foods with the potential to save lives from making it to consumers."

In a paper published in Nature Plants, Professor Napier and fellow authors wrote that using genetic modification (GM) to enhance the nutritional composition of crops (for either direct human consumption or as animal feed) has been recognized since the dawn of the GM era, with ‘output' traits being considered as distinct, if not potentially superior, to ‘input' traits such as herbicide tolerance and insect resistance. The authors point out that while input traits have successfully been used and now form the basis of GM agriculture, output trait GM crops is still lagging behind after 20 years.

Professor Napier points the example to Golden Rice. "The technology is proven, the rigorous safety studies have been done, the nutritional research shows Golden Rice is an excellent source of vitamin A – but still it is not being produced, despite having been formally approved for feed or food use in USA, Canada, and New Zealand and Australia," he said. He added that Golden Rice has been stuck in development limbo for far too long now, and not available to the people who would benefit from it.

For more details, read the news article on the Rothamsted Research website.