Mendel in the Kitchen

Paperback | April 30, 2008

byNina FedoroffEditorFEDOROFF

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Any farmer you talk to could tell you that we've been playing with the genetic makeup of our food for millennia, carefully coaxing nature to do our bidding. The practice officially dates back to Gregor Mendel--who was not a renowned scientist, but a 19th-century Augustinian monk. Mendel spent many hours toiling in his garden, testing and cultivating more than 28,000 pea plants, selectively determining very specific characteristics of the peas that were produced, ultimately giving birth to the idea of heredity--and the now very common practice of artificially modifying our food. But as science takes the helm, steering common field practices into the laboratory, the world is now keenly aware of how adept we have become at tinkering with nature--which in turn has produced a variety of questions. Are genetically modified foods really safe? Will the foods ultimately make us sick, perhaps in ways we can't even imagine? Isn't it dangerous to change the nature of nature itself? Nina V. Fedoroff, a leading geneticist and recognized expert in biotechnology, answers these questions, and more. Addressing the fear and mistrust that is rapidly spreading, Fedoroff and her co-author, science writer Nancy Marie Brown, weave a narrative rich in history, technology, and science to dispel the many myths and misunderstandings. In the end, Fedoroff argues, plant biotechnology can help us to become better stewards of the earth while permitting us to feed ourselves and generations of children to come. Indeed, this new approach to agriculture holds the promise of being the most environmentally conservative way to increase our food supply.

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Any farmer you talk to could tell you that we've been playing with the genetic makeup of our food for millennia, carefully coaxing nature to do our bidding. The practice officially dates back to Gregor Mendel--who was not a renowned scientist, but a 19th-century Augustinian monk. Mendel spent many hours toiling in his garden, testing a...

Format:PaperbackDimensions:8.75 × 6.35 × 0.68 inPublished:April 30, 2008Publisher:National Academy PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:030909738X

ISBN - 13:9780309097383

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"Some countries, many in Europe, have imposed bans on importing and growing GM crops. Others, notably the U.S., have grown, cooked and eaten them without knowing about it, or seeming to care that they don't know."