Travels in the Genetically Modified Zone

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9780674015296: Travels in the Genetically Modified Zone

With genetically modified crops we have entered uncharted territory--where visions of the triumph of biotechnology in agriculture vie with dire views of medical and environmental disaster. For two years Mark L. Winston traveled this fraught territory at home and abroad, listening to farmers, industry spokespeople, regulators, and researchers, canvassing high-security laboratories, environmentalist enclaves, and cyberspace, making a thorough survey of the facts, opinions, and practices deployed by opponents and proponents of transgenic crops.

Through his sympathetic portrayal of the passions on all sides, Winston brings a clear, unbiased perspective to this bewildering landscape. Traveling with Winston, we see the excitement and curiosity that pervade laboratories developing genetically modified crops, as well as the panic and outrage among dedicated opponents of agricultural biotechnology; the desperation of conventional farmers as they look to science for solutions to the problems driving them from their farms, as well as the deeply held values of organic farmers who dread the incursion of genetically modified crops into their expanding enterprise. And, Winston shows us, these contrasting attitudes transcend national borders, with troubling counterparts and consequences in the developing world.

As he seeks a middle ground where concerns about genetic engineering can be rationally discussed and resolved, Winston gives us, at long last, a full and balanced view of the forces at play in the chaotic debate over agricultural biotechnology.

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About the Author:

Mark L. Winston is Academic Director of the Centre for Dialogue at Simon Fraser University and Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences.

From Library Journal:

Winston (Nature Wars; biological sciences, Simon Fraser Univ., British Columbia) spent more than two years traveling around the United States, Canada, and Europe in an attempt to better understand the "politicized world of agricultural biotechnology." He visited scientists, government officials, corporations, environmentalists, farmers, and consumers and searched cyberspace for information and contacts. The result is a balanced report of the facts and myths about genetically modified organisms (GMOs), from seed production to consumption, and the strong feelings that emerge from all players in this debate. Winston describes the sense of excitement and scientific curiosity in the research community, the fears and anger of opponents, and the desperation of farmers who are caught in the middle trying to gain the public trust and save their farms. Winston is distressed by the rigidity of opposing viewpoints and the unwillingness of the parties to talk to each other in order to reach an acceptable middle ground. His effort to find that middle ground makes his book a worthwhile addition to all biotechnology and agriculture collections. Irwin Weintraub, Brooklyn Coll. Lib., New York
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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