If you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time, or if you browse through the books I’ve reviewed, the fact that I loved this book should come as absolutely no surprise. And I did love it. But not as much as I’d hoped. It is written by two professors from UC-Davis; one a geneticist studying genetically engineered crops (pro-GE, that is) and the other, an organic farmer. The kicker is that they are married. And that they see eye to eye on this issue.
One thing that has always annoyed me about the organic movement is the wholesale tossing out of GE and GMOs in general as “unnatural”. As someone with a pretty long and storied background in science, I know that what we see in the media isn’t usually the truth, and in the case of GEs, oftentimes the benefits FAR outweigh the costs. And that is the gist of this book.
The chapters alternate between the two perspectives, and although each has different motives for wanting to develop GE crops, they ultimately agree on the fact that they are more good than bad. That is a bias in the writing that I am willing to accept, because I agree with it, but if you disagree, you may find yourself frustrated with the brushing aside of some of your own arguments against GE.
For me, my only complaint is that I wanted more science. I guess I should expect that a book written for the general public will no longer satisfy my scientific curiosity, at least in subjects where I’ve done my homework. Still, I have recommended this book to many people in the week since I finished it – geneticists, freshman biology students, and farmers. I think there’s something for everyone in this book, and it is very well researched and annotated, which to me, speaks volumes about the work that went into it.