GM Food – the Day of the Triffid?

I’ve been lazy when it comes to the debate about GM (Genetically Modified) food. As far as I know, GM supporters argue that the world is better nourished when genetic meddling is used to strengthen the resistance of foods to pest and disease or to increase yield or body mass. That sounds to me like a very laudable aim..

GM opponents, on the other hand, warn of the long-term dangers of rogue genes. They fear the inadvertent engineering of something like the Triffid, of John Wyndham’s 1951 novel. These large carnivorous and mobile plants end up wreaking more than a little havoc with the world.


The novel’s central character, Bill Masen, dismisses the idea that they are a naturally occurring species, or that they are extra-terrestrial in origin:

My own belief, for what that is worth, is that they were the outcome of a series of ingenious biological meddlings—and very likely accidental, at that.

We are warned.

That said, my instincts still lie with the supporters of GM, but, as I say, I have engaged little with the debate.

Here, in Prague, however, I have very much enjoyed the fruits (or poultry) of Czech research in the field, and, since I prefer dark meat to light, I am delighted with the multi-limbed chicken which I roasted on Saturday.

vishnu chicken

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