Mark Lynas has written a timely and important book about changing sides on the controversial topic of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. Whether you support or oppose that technology, Seeds of Science is full of surprises.
British environmental-activist Lynas reconsiders the global controversy over genetically modified organisms (GMOs). He was not only against GMOs in the past but he was also one its most aggressive opponents. He would go on midnight missions to destroy crops that cultivated GMOs and disguise himself to gain entry into secure corporate facilities. Those days are over ... Lynas may have been brash and insistent in the past, but here, he is deliberate, thoughtful, and committed to setting the record straight regarding GMOs and how they help farmers, especially in developing countries.
In the 1990s, Lynas was not content to just march against GMOs; he would wade into test plots at night, swinging a machete at the Frankenplants. However, he admits that he didn’t really know a strand of DNA from a corn tassel, so he began intensive research on GMOs. Fortunately, by the late 1990s, there was a large body of work on GMOs, plenty of it suggesting a healthy side to their nature ... In this well-tempered, smoothly written book, Lynas calls for balance. Suspicion of all scientific discoveries will lead to further famine and global warming, while unscrutinized experimentation is prone to folly and corporate profit-gouging.
Science writer Lynas relates his personal journey from anti-GMO activist to outspoken proponent of genetically modified foods in this thoughtful examination of the issue. Although he makes a forceful case that activism against GMO products is misguided at best and disingenuous at worst, Lynas is at his most powerful discussing the struggle between science and ideology. He describes his intellectual transformation when he decided to survey scientific opinion and discovered many reputable institutions that supported the genetic modification of food sources, terming this period 'my own personal Enlightenment.' ... His book will be thought-provoking reading for anyone interested in this contentious public health question.