Economy, Business And Markets

Iranian Scientists Defend Transgenic Technology

Iranian Scientists Defend Transgenic TechnologyIranian Scientists Defend Transgenic Technology

More than 100 leading Iranian scientists and university professors have signed a statement, voicing their support for the indigenization of transgenic technology.

Transgenic technology refers to the process that removes genetic material from one species of plant and adds it to another to improve crop yield and protect it from pests and disease.

There is clear evidence that introduction of genetic engineering in agriculture has resulted in significant benefits such as higher crop yields, reduced farm costs, increased farm profit and improvement in health and environment.

There is scientific consensus that food on the market derived from genetically modified crops poses no greater risk to human health than conventional food. However, opponents object to the use of GM crops on several grounds, including environmental concerns and food safety. They argue that pests are likely to become resistant to the toxins produced by GM crops and these toxins might affect non-target organisms.

Advocate of transgenic technology say the opponents of transgenic products are in the habit of staying silent in the face of imports.

“Over the past 15 years, there was no media campaign against Americans being the producers of GM products and Iranians being the consumers of such products. The interesting point is that according to the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration, imports of basic products, which consisted mostly of transgenic crops, increased by 530% from 2005 to 2012, reaching $8.12 billion,” the statement reads.

Last week, government spokesman, Mohammad Baqer Nobakht, announced that the Iranian government supports biotechnology research and efforts to advance transgenic technologies in agriculture. He also rejected the scare campaign against genetically modified products and called for patience on behalf of biotechnologists in the face of opponents.