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(Article Summarized by Meridian Institute) More than 100 Nobel laureates this week have signed a letter asking Greenpeace to end its opposition to genetically modified organisms (GMOs). In particular, the signatories ask Greenpeace to end its efforts to block the introduction of Golden Rice, a genetically engineered rice that supporters say could help address vitamin A deficiencies in the developing world. "We urge Greenpeace and its supporters to re-examine the experience of farmers and consumers worldwide with crops and foods improved through biotechnology, recognize the findings of authoritative scientific bodies and regulatory agencies, and abandon their campaign against 'GMOs' in general and Golden Rice in particular," the letter says. Randy Schekman, a Nobel laureate and cell biologist at the University of California, Berkeley, and one of the signatories, said, “I find it surprising that groups that are very supportive of science when it comes to global climate change, or even, for the most part, in the appreciation of the value of vaccination in preventing human disease, can yet can be so dismissive of the general views of scientists when it comes to something as important as the world’s agricultural future.” Greenpeace has spearheaded the opposition to Golden Rice; the organization has yet to respond to requests for comment on the letter. According to this article, the debate between mainstream scientists and environmental activists over GMOs is not new, and the letter is unlikely to persuade GMO opponents to change their minds. Still, said Columbia University's Martin Chalfie, who shared the 2008 Nobel in chemistry, “I’m not so sure we’re any more special than other scientists who have looked at the evidence involved, but we have considerably more visibility because of the prize. I think that this behooves us, that when we feel that science is not being listened to, that we speak out."

Posted June 29th, 2016