Mendel in the Kitchen: A Scientist's View of Genetically Modified Food / Edition 1

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Overview

Nina Fedoroff, a leading expert in plant molecular biology and genetics, looks at the many issues raised by contemporary techniques for modifying food plants. She answers the most commonly asked questions - and some we didn't think to ask. Fedoroff and her co-author, science writer Nancy Marie Brown, weave a narrative rich in history, technology, and science to dispel myths and misunderstandings. In the end, Fedoroff argues, the new molecular approaches hold the promise of being the most environmentally conservative way to increase our food supply, helping us to become better stewards of the earth while enabling us to feed ourselves and generations to come.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Is genetically engineered Golden Rice (enriched with vitamin A) a dangerous "Frankenfood" or a safe, nutritionally enhanced food that could fill a major vitamin deficiency in the Third World? Fedoroff, a molecular biologist and member of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences, and science writer Brown (A Good Horse Has No Color) argue forcefully for the latter view, saying we should embrace most of the advances genetic engineering has made in the agricultural arena. In an extremely accessible style, they take readers through the basics of genetics and genetic engineering to demonstrate why they believe that the risks associated with this technology are trivial. They also contend that the use of modern molecular technology to insert genes from one species into another isn't very different from the hybrid crosses that agriculturalists have been doing for millennia. Taking on concerns voiced by environmentalists, the authors articulate how genetically modified crops could reduce the amount of pesticides and fertilizers used and increase the yield of crop plants to keep up with a growing world population that could reach eight or nine billion in this century. Though likely to be controversial, the authors' clear and rational presentation could well change the opinions of some readers. Illus. not seen by PW. (Nov. 5) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Finally, we hear from scientists in the public debate on genetically modified foods. Geneticist and molecular biologist Fedoroff and science writer Brown present the history of genetic engineering and the advancements that have been made in plant breeding since Gregor Mendel's experiments with peas in 1866. The authors respond to critics and shatter myths by explaining what genetic engineering is, the role it plays in crop improvement, and the successes and failures that have occurred along the way. The result is a real learning experience for readers who want to know more about hybrids, gene splicing, crossbreeding, mutagenesis, and other procedures that have been the mainstay of genetic engineering. Overall, the authors clearly show that when applied responsibly with appropriate scientific oversight, genetic engineering plays a vital role in sustainable agriculture. It has the potential to produce enough food for a growing world population and improve nutrition while protecting biodiversity and ecosystem balance. A necessary acquisition for all collections with biotechnology resources.-Irwin Weintraub, Brooklyn Coll. Lib., New York Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780309092050
  • Publisher: National Academies Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2004
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 6.16 (w) x 9.34 (h) x 1.02 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Against the ways of nature 1
2 The wild and the sown 23
3 The power in the earth 47
4 Genes and species 67
5 Tinkering with evolution 85
6 Making a chimera 107
7 The product or the process 129
8 Is it safe to eat? 155
9 Poisoned rats or poisoned wells 177
10 The butterfly and the corn borer 201
11 Pollen has always flown 223
12 The organic rule 245
13 Sustaining agriculture 263
14 Sharing the fruits 279
15 Food for thought 295
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