Ron Herring: GMO Rice in China’s Future? Navigating the Global Rift

From the Japan Focus:

A recent article in Nature [1] asked provocatively: Is China ready for GM rice? The title reflects widely shared anxiety over genetic engineering in agriculture. The use of the term “GM” specifically conjures a politically charged object: “GMOs” or “genetically modified organisms.” Is anyone ready for FrankenFoods? Strawberries with fish genes? Human cloning? The question has an ominous overtone, though both reporter and venue are identified with science. The question derives its energy from the decision of the Chinese Government to go full speed ahead with genetically engineered rice to confront what the state constructs as a gathering Malthusian crisis of hunger. What the article does not tell the reader is that the farmers are way ahead of the government: ready and able. Transgenic rice – officially unauthorized within China – has for several years been showing up in exports from China to Europe, to Japan, to New Zealand – and probably many other places that simply are not checking.


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