NOTE: Links to sources for these quotes available at http://www.bangmfood.org/quotes
Non-GM biotech is the future
"New cutting-edge technologies have made gene splicing and transgenic crops obsolete and a serious impediment to scientific progress." - Jeremy Rifkin, This crop revolution may succeed where GM failed, The Guardian, 26 October 2006
"From a scientific perspective, the public argument about genetically-modified organisms, I think, will soon be a thing of the past. The science has moved on and we're now in the genomics era." - Prof Bob Goodman, former head of research and development at Calgene, creators of the Flavr Savr tomato, the world's first GM food, Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, 18 February 2001
"The quiet revolution is happening in gene mapping, helping us understand crops better. That is up and running and could have a far greater impact on agriculture [than GM]." - Prof John Snape, head of the department of crop genetics, John Innes Centre, Gene mapping the friendly face of GM technology, Farmers Weekly, 1 March 2002
"Perhaps the greatest potential of biotechnologies does not come from GMOs but from genetic markers, genomics and proteomics which can complement conventional breeding strategies and enhance their efficiency." - Louise Fresco, assistant director of agriculture of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations EU Discussion Forum, Towards Sustainable Agriculture for Developing Countries: Options from Life Sciences and Biotechnologies, Brussels, 30-31 January 2003
"Many agbiotech methods have nothing to do with gene transfer ('genetic engineering') but are more akin to the kinds of DNA fingerprinting that are now in such common use in forensic science and medical diagnostics. Even today, by far the most effective use of agbiotech, and one with which I have been involved in Southeast Asia, is MAS, or marker-assisted selection. Here, molecular markers and other high-tech tools are used to speed up and widen the scope of crop breeding around the world but no GM methods are involved." - Denis J Murphy, Professor of Biotechnology at the University of Glamorgan, Wales, Agricultural Biotechnology: Monster, Marvel, or just Misunderstood?, Public Service Review - Devolved Government, November 2006
"Biotechnology rather than genetic modification is the key to improving wheat varieties, says Monsanto. Although GM techniques may develop some traits, most will stem from conventional breeding backed by sophisticated biotech tools.
"Biotech to aid conventional wheat breeding is already attracting 10 to 20 times more effort than the [GM] genetic transformation of the crop, says US-based Tom Crosbie, Monsanto's global head of plant breeding.
"'Genetic transformation [GM] can only be used to introduce one segment of novel genetic material to a variety at a time, but biotech tools can be used to enhance a host of existing traits. It's a numbers game and ultimately non-transformation biotech offers the greatest potential.'" - Charles Abel, Wheat future is in bio-tech not GM - breeder, Farmer's Weekly, 25 February 2000
"Our thinking needs to be focussed downstream at our markets, innovatively and laterally...[to] give us a worthwhile competitive advantage.... The possibilities are as endless as they are exciting and they are achievable with existing technologies. Within the wheat plant we have a vast reservoir of genes. We also have the advanced analytical equipment necessary to pinpoint the molecular characteristics we need. And the marker-assisted systems to reliably build these characteristics into high output varieties through conventional plant breeding." - Jeff Cox, general manager for Monsanto Northern Europe, Farmers Weekly, 30 August 2002
"The new frontier is called genomics and the new agricultural technology is called marker-assisted selection (MAS). The new technology offers a sophisticated method to greatly accelerate classical breeding. A growing number of scientists believe MAS - which is already being introduced into the market - will eventually replace GM food. Moreover, environmental organisations that oppose GM crops are guardedly supportive of MAS technology.
"While MAS is emerging as a promising new agricultural technology with broad application, the limits of transgenic technology are becoming increasingly apparent. Most of the transgenic crops introduced into the fields express only two traits, resistance to pests and compatibility with herbicides, and rely on the expression of a single gene - hardly the sweeping agricultural revolution touted by the life-science companies at the beginning of the GM era.
"In a recent speech, Stavros Dimas, the EU's environment commissioner, noted that 'MAS technology is attracting considerable attention' and said that the EU 'should not ignore the use of "upgraded" conventional varieties as an alternative to GM crops'.
"If properly used as part of a much larger systemic and holistic approach to sustainable agricultural development, MAS technology could be the right technology at the right time in history." - Jeremy Rifkin, This crop revolution may succeed where GM failed, The Guardian, 26 October 2006
"Scientists, faced with the major challenge of boosting productivity of staple crops for ensuring world's food and nutritional security, are now looking at effectively deploying biotechnological tools to develop crops which would not be transgenics or genetically modified (GM) ones.
"Transgenics or GM crops, they say, have generated much controversy across the globe. It has to pass through rigorous regulatory process before commercial release and hence it's time consuming. Rather the better option would be to deploy biotechnological tools like marker-aided selection....
"Scientists are exploring the possibilities of deploying modern biotech tools for developing high yielding crops with high nutrition content," the director general of the International Rice Research Institute Robert S. Zeigler says. "We have effective biotechnological tools at our disposal such as improved rice crops which would not be transgenic crops. Development of transgenic crop is only one of the many options."
- Ashok B. Sharma, Hiking rice yield, biotechnology to the rescue, Indian Express, 26 October 2006