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Why genetic modification is essential for our survival

Professor of microbiology in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at UCT, Jennifer Thomson, says the use of genetic modification, is not only safe, if ethically and appropriately done, but will be essential to the survival of the human race in the future.

Thomson said “We are never going to be able to feed the nation unless if we make changes to the way food is produced.”

Resurrection plants, arguably the world's most drought-tolerant plants, are potentially the key to ensuring food security in the face of climate change, the professor added.

“Developments in agriculture have always been driven by population growth. As the population continues to grow and climate continues to change, it is getting increasingly important that we produce crops with improved drought tolerance.”

Thompson argued that produce related to genetic modification always tested first and there aren’t dramatic changes to the produce.

“The maize in South Africa is already 80-90 percent genetically modified.”

Listen Professor Jennifer Thomson discusses the use of modern biotechnology commonly termed genetic modification.


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