Los reaccionarios a la modificación genética

PALO ALTO – Los habitantes de todo el mundo están cada vez más expuestos a lo que el Premio Nobel de Química Irving Langmuir llamaba la "ciencia patológica" (es decir, hacer ciencia de elementos que no son reales) para justificar las normativas de los gobiernos u otras políticas. Se ha convertido en una especialidad de grupos que se autodenominan "de interés público" pero cuyos objetivos a menudo no son proteger el medio ambiente ni la salud pública, sino más bien oponerse a todo estudio, producto o tecnología que les desagraden.

Por ejemplo, las técnicas modernas de ingeniería genética -también conocida como biotecnología, tecnología de recombinación del ADN o modificación genética (MG)- brindan las herramientas para crear plantas nuevas y espectaculares a partir de otras ya viejas. Sin embargo, la imagen de ellas que la gente recibe una y otra vez es errónea y malintencionada.

Más de 17 millones de agricultores en cerca de tres decenas de países utilizan en la actualidad variedades de cultivos modificados genéticamente para lograr mejores cosechas con menor necesidad de insumos y menos efectos sobre el medio ambiente. La mayor parte de estas variedades se han diseñado para resistir plagas y enfermedades, lo que hace posible que los agricultores adopten prácticas de siembra directa sin labranza y usen herbicidas menos tóxicos.

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