“In science, we go by evidence”

On GM crops: a conversation with Pushpa M Bhargava, eminent biotechnologist, Padma Shree awardee and founder of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad

prasanna

Prasanna Mohanty | January 31, 2013


Pushpa M Bhargava
Pushpa M Bhargava

Dr Bhargava, what do you think of environmentalist Mark Lynas’ sudden change of heart – from being an anti-GM crusader to a pro-GM crusader? [Read more here]

I think it doesn’t change the situation one bit. We have no credentials of him and one swallow doesn’t make a summer.

In science, we go by evidence. Nothing has been added to the evidence that we have for or against the GM crop. Opinion is completely irrelevant in science if it is not based on evidence, existing or new. In science, if we ever change our opinion we always give reasons. Here, none is given.

To the community of scientists, he (Lynas) is a completely unknown entity and no different from somebody one might pick up on the street randomly.

How do we know that he is not purchased? How do we know the person exists and not merely a story created by the multinational seed companies making GMOs? The very fact that this story has been released without scientific evidence makes the case against GM crops stronger.

What is your stand on promoting GM crops in India?

Firstly, we must make a socio-economic assessment whether there is a problem at all. We had a problem in case of cotton but not for brinjal at all.

Secondly, we must see if alternatives are available to the GM technology. In case of cotton, there was a problem but there were alternatives – integrated pest management, bio-pesticides and organic agriculture. So we didn’t need it.

Third, if it turns out that we need GM crop we must go through a very strict safety assessment. This has not been done for any GM crop (in India). Nearly 30 tests need to be conducted. Out of these, about six tests have been done and that to, done badly. So for all practical purposes, no safety assessment has been done.

Therefore, a moratorium on GM crop is justified.

Also read interviews with Kavitha Kuruganti and Suman Sahai

Comments

 

Other News

Talking to Trump, Modi hits out at Imran’s anti-India rhetoric

Prime minister Narendra Modi has told US president Donald Trump that Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan’s “incitement to anti-India violence” was not good for peace in south Asia. Modi and Trump had a telephonic conversation – their first since the Aug 5 move to chang

Paediatricians call for junking unhealthy food

As children are consuming more and more fast foods and sweetened beverages are becoming, leading to obesity and related non-communicable diseases (NCDs), the Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP) has come out with guidelines on such substances. The dietary guidelines under its nutrition chapter

Modi’s forward-looking I-Day speech lays down 5-year agenda

Contrast prime minister Narendra Modi’s first Independence Day speech in 2014 with his latest, the first in the second term, and you know the difference. His first speech was less about future and much about the basic needs like Swachch Bharat (clean India). His speech on Thursday, on the other hand,

Better cities require active citizen engagement

With Mumbai city battling myriad civic issues and annual flooding year after year, stakeholders and experts came together to discuss ways of dealing with these issues as community work. The discussion was held at the TEDxVersova Salon- Vibrant Civic Participation, an independent TED event organized by the

Independence Day: PM underlines new beginnings

Addressing the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort for the first in his second term, prime minister Narendra Modi highlighted the new beginnings his government has made in recent days, and underlined the hopes of a new India in the making. “Things that could not happen in the past

Kashmir decision “sole prerogative of the country”

India has told China that the legislation changing the status of Jammu and Kashmir was “an internal matter. External affairs minister S Jaishankar, visiting China Monday, told foreign minister Wang Yi that the legislative measures were aimed at promoting better governance and socio-ec



Current Issue

Current Issue

Video

CM Nitish’s convoy attacked in Buxar

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter