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Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1105; doi:10.3390/su8111105

Should Organic Agriculture Maintain Its Opposition to GM? New Techniques Writing the Same Old Story

1,†,* , 1,2,†
and
1,†
1
GenØk Centre for Biosafety, Siva Innovasjonssenter, PB 6418, Tromsø 9294, Norway
2
Agroecology and Food Systems Chair, University of Vic-Central University of Catalonia, c/de la Laura, 13, Vic 08500, Spain
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Gerhart U. Ryffel
Received: 8 July 2016 / Revised: 21 October 2016 / Accepted: 26 October 2016 / Published: 28 October 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organic Farming and Gene Manipulation)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1189 KB, uploaded 28 October 2016]   |  

Abstract

Biotechnology is diversifying rapidly through the development and application of new approaches to genome editing and ongoing research into synthetic biology. Proponents of biotechnology are enthusiastic about these new developments and have recently begun calling for environmental movements to abandon their campaigns against Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and for organic agriculture to reconsider its exclusion of Genetic Modification (GM). In this article, we begin by describing the diversity of practices that cluster under both the terms GM and organic and show that although there is a clash of different cultures of agriculture at stake, there is also a spectrum of practices existing between these two poles. Having established the terms of the debate, we then go on to analyse whether the organic movement should reconsider its position on GM in light of new plant breeding techniques (NPBTs), using the criteria highlighted as important by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) in their 2016 draft revised position on GMOs. Through this analysis, we suggest that given the in-context-trajectory of biotechnology development, the continued narrow framing of agricultural problems and the ongoing exclusion of important socio-economic, political and cultural dimensions, the organic movement is justified in maintaining its opposition to GM in the face of NPBTs. View Full-Text
Keywords: GM; GMO; agricultural biotechnology; organic; agroecology; sustainability; agri-food systems; new plant breeding techniques (NPBTs) GM; GMO; agricultural biotechnology; organic; agroecology; sustainability; agri-food systems; new plant breeding techniques (NPBTs)
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Wickson, F.; Binimelis, R.; Herrero, A. Should Organic Agriculture Maintain Its Opposition to GM? New Techniques Writing the Same Old Story. Sustainability 2016, 8, 1105.

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