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Mendel in the Kitchen A Scientist's View of Genetically Modified Foods

ISBN-10: 030909738X
ISBN-13: 9780309097383
Edition: 2004
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Description: Any farmer you talk to could tell you that we've been playing with the genetic makeup of our food for millennia, carefully coaxing nature to do our bidding. The practice officially dates back to Gregor Mendel--who was not a renowned scientist, but a  More...

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Book details

List price: $24.95
Copyright year: 2004
Publisher: National Academies Press
Publication date: 10/30/2004
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 384
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 1.650

Any farmer you talk to could tell you that we've been playing with the genetic makeup of our food for millennia, carefully coaxing nature to do our bidding. The practice officially dates back to Gregor Mendel--who was not a renowned scientist, but a 19th-century Augustinian monk. Mendel spent many hours toiling in his garden, testing and cultivating more than 28,000 pea plants, selectively determining very specific characteristics of the peas that were produced, ultimately giving birth to the idea of heredity--and the now very common practice of artificially modifying our food. But as science takes the helm, steering common field practices into the laboratory, the world is now keenly aware of how adept we have become at tinkering with nature--which in turn has produced a variety of questions. Are genetically modified foods really safe? Will the foods ultimately make us sick, perhaps in ways we can't even imagine? Isn't it dangerous to change the nature of nature itself? Nina V. Fedoroff, a leading geneticist and recognized expert in biotechnology, answers these questions, and more. Addressing the fear and mistrust that is rapidly spreading, Fedoroff and her co-author, science writer Nancy Marie Brown, weave a narrative rich in history, technology, and science to dispel the many myths and misunderstandings. In the end, Fedoroff argues, plant biotechnology can help us to become better stewards of the earth while permitting us to feed ourselves and generations of children to come. Indeed, this new approach to agriculture holds the promise of being the most environmentally conservative way to increase our food supply.

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