Submitted to: Environmental Quality
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/21/2005
Publication Date: 11/7/2005
Citation: Skinner, D.Z. 2005. Genetically modified planet. J. Envir. Qual. 34:2335-2336. Interpretive Summary: This review of "Genetically Modified Planet" provides a brief overview of the ideas and examples presented by the author of the book. Both historical and predicted uses and impacts of genetically modified plants are discussed.
Technical Abstract: "Through 2003 there have been more than 38 trillion GM [genetically modified] plants grown in the U.S." , and "GM plants are the most deeply studied and understood (genetically, physiological, and ecologically) plants ever grown anywhere. These two statements, presented by the author, set the stage for the ensuing discussion of the involvement of GM plants in the past, present, and future of agriculture. The purpose of this book is to address the compound question: "Will modifying agriculture with biotechnology alter nature even more than it already has? Or will biotechnology actually make agriculture more harmonic with nature?" The author presents a number of case studies of impacts of GM plants on the environment and summarizes the end results of these cases. The author then provides an interesting chapter entitled "Futurama" which discusses possible future applications of GM plants; such things as GM approaches to combating historically devastating plant diseases, and GM plants that neutralize toxic pollutants or indicate the position of hidden land mines. The book is wide-ranging and very readable. The perspective presented is thought – provoking and provides a well – grounded basis for considering the actual and potential impact of GM plants on agricultural productivity, and the global environment.