Devang Mehta received a deluge of reader questions to his essay in March about why he is pivoting away from GMO research after years devoted to the topic. Here is a sampling of questions multiple readers asked. Questions have been edited for brevity.
Tampering with very complex systems can have unintended consequences. Why are you convinced of the safety of the genetic modifications you make?
I am convinced about the safety of the GMOs that are on the market and that are created in my lab for two reasons. First, we understand the biology of the genes we introduce into plants very well. These genes have been studied for decades, and it is difficult to think of ways in which they might conceivably harm us. Secondly, GMOs reach the market only after extensive safety testing by multiple government agencies, like the European Food Safety Authority in Europe or the EPA and FDA in the US. This review article covers the types of testing that current GMOs have passed.