Frankenfoods and anthrax

19 01 2009

The SciBorg Seed-Cube has had another of their industry-sponsored blogs for a small while. At first it showed as an inaccessible anomaly in my rss feeder, but now it seems Invitrogen’s is live and screaming.

Yes, asking “What’s new in life science research” brings up doom and gloom. It started of with bioterrorism, and has now moved onto genetically modified organisms. While its certainly quite difficult to argue the merits of bioterror-orientated research (“just-in-case” is often as best as it gets), the merits of GMOs are all around us. Nutritional food. Economic boom. Less environmental impact of pesticides. Antibiotics. Biofuels. Extended shelf life.

Some of the recent discussion has been on labelling.

Labelling on GMOs I don’t see as a problem. At a basic level its as reasonable as allowing sellers to mark their food and products as “organic”, “98% fat free” or “heart-safe”. Consumers have a right to make informed decisions about their consumption, even if their decision is stupid.

I’m a bit disappointed with the Invitrogen/Seed blog though. These aren7t “new life research”. Bioterror is centuries old (plague-ridden bodies were “weaponised” during the Black Death). And even GMOs on the level with Bt-cotton and Monsanto’s dubious canola IP-debacles getting old hat. Where is something truly new – like synthetic life, personal genomics, or I don’t know, something more 2009, less 1999.

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