With genetically modified crops we have entered uncharted territorywhere visions of the triumph of biotechnology in agriculture vie with dire views of medical and environmental disaster. For two years Mark L. Winston traveled this fraught territory at home and abroad, listening to farmers, industry spokespeople, regulators, and researchers, canvassing high-security laboratories, environmentalist enclaves, and cyberspace, making a thorough survey of the facts, opinions, and practices deployed by opponents and proponents of transgenic crops.
Through his sympathetic portrayal of the passions on all sides, Winston brings a clear, unbiased perspective to this bewildering landscape. Traveling with Winston, we see the excitement and curiosity that pervade laboratories developing genetically modified crops, as well as the panic and outrage among dedicated opponents of agricultural biotechnology; the desperation of conventional farmers as they look to science for solutions to the problems driving them from their farms, as well as the deeply held values of organic farmers who dread the incursion of genetically modified crops into their expanding enterprise. And, Winston shows us, these contrasting attitudes transcend national borders, with troubling counterparts and consequences in the developing world.
As he seeks a middle ground where concerns about genetic engineering can be rationally discussed and resolved, Winston gives us, at long last, a full and balanced view of the forces at play in the chaotic debate over agricultural biotechnology.
Mark L. Winston is Professor and Senior Fellow at Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Dialogue and Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences.
Table of Contents
2. In the Heat of the Day
3. The Regulators
4. Of Butterflies and Weeds
5. It Only Moves Forward
6. Saving the Family Farm
7. Saving the Bugs
8. Anything under the Sun
9. There'll Always Be an England
10. For the Good of Mankind
11. Risks Real or Imagined
What People are Saying About This
May R. Bereuhaum
Writing with wit and wisdom. Winston it invites its along on a personal journey to resolve his own questions about the impacts, good and bad, of genetically engineered crops. We meet a dazzling array of personalities, not stock character stereotypes, but real scientists, environmental advocates, government regulators, industrial magnates, and prairie farmers, each with sincere beliefs and distinctive viewpoints. Winston's objectivity and clarity cut through the rhetoric to illuminate a scientific revolution that affects the lives of everyone--and has been, until now, a mystery to all but those on the front lines. May R. Bereuhaum, author of Buzzwords: A Scientist Muses on Sex, Bugs, and Rock 'n' Roll
William Leiss. Past President of The Royal Society Canada
In the heated debate about biotechnology thus is the most balanced, readable, and fair-minded overview yet written. Professor Winston has a superb talent for representing sympathetically the various contending positions while at the same time being intellectually rigorous in his analysis of the technical issues. His approach could serve as a model lot how to write about the increasing number of contentious debates we have where science and public policy intersect.
Travels in the Genetically Modified Zone is a magnificent guide to one of the great issues of our day. Clear-headed and always to the point, Mark Winston demystifies his subject in lucid, well-written chapters that tell you exactly what you need to know. A top-notch book. Gregg Easterbrook, author of 'A Moment on the Earth and The Here and Now
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