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The work, edited by Quimantú and RAP-Chile, and translated by Lucía Sepúlveda, will be presented by Camilo Rodríguez Beltrán, master in post-genomic sciences and Director of Innovation of the Faculty of Engineering of the Universidad del Desarrollo, together with agronomist Guillermo Riveros , president of BioBio Orgánico, María Elena Rozas, national coordinator of RAP-Chile and the Quimantú publishing house. There will be music, with Natalia Contesse and a wine of honor, which is guaranteed to have been produced "without pesticides or GMOs". The activity is part of the call to action launched by Vandana Shiva (1) and La Via Campesina, in defense of the Seed, as we approach World Food Day, next October 16 (2)
The book "GMOs: Myths and Truths" (original title: GMOS Myths and Truths), examines the claims about safety and efficacy of genetically manipulated crops. It was originally published online by Earth OpenSource in 2012. Michael Antoniou, one of the authors, is a biotechnologist at King’s College London School of Medicine, London. Claire Robinson is Earth Open Source Research Director and GMWatch Editor, and John Fagan is a physician and molecular biologist, expert in GMO biosafety and certification. Lucía Sepúlveda Ruiz, the translator, is a journalist for the Chile Pesticides Action Network, and spokesperson for the Yo No Quiero Transgénicos campaign in Chile. The book is from Editorial Quimantú and will be distributed to communities and organizations throughout the country.
A censored topic
Regardless of whether they live in the countryside or in the city, very few Chileans know what we are talking about when we talk about transgenics. There is no book in our country that addresses the subject with this depth and relevance. Scientists and citizens are discussing globally with intensity about transgenic crops. But in Chile this debate is not such and only the public relations statements of transnational companies linked to this lucrative and harmful business are published, which are great advertisers in the media.
The foreword of the book deals with the Chilean case, arguing that we still have time to stop transgenic crops. Provides up-to-date information on transgenic seedbeds, their negative impacts, the state's support for this type of crops and the regions most damaged by the combined impact of pesticides and transgenics. It also analyzes the legal initiatives directly or indirectly linked to GMOs, such as the "Monsanto Law" and the Biosafety / GMOs bill, speaking in favor of a moratorium on GM crops and labeling the foods that contain it.
In seven chapters this work (323 pages and illustrations) deals with the central aspects related to the GMO debate, with a precise language accessible to all audiences. Destroy one by one the myths raised by friends of GMOs, including two of the most widespread by this propaganda: that genetic engineering is nothing more than an extension of natural improvement and that genetic manipulation is precise and the results are predictable .
With solid arguments it shows that genetic manipulation is very different from natural breeding, it presents specific risks, and it is also crude and imprecise, so its results are unpredictable.
The chronic effect
In the first chapters we find the rigorous and didactic explanation of the genetic manipulation technique, to then focus on the subject from science and the regulators who make decisions about it in each country, and in chapter three, analyze the health risks raised by transgenic foods. This chapter, undoubtedly one of the most controversial and important in the work, includes an appendix updated to 2014, referring to the study by French researcher Gilles-Eric Séralini on the chronic effect of feeding with transgenic corn and Roundup herbicide, which it has been the subject of intense academic and citizen debate. The next chapter looks at Monsanto's herbicide glyphosate (trade name Roundup), the most widely used in the world and in Chile, examining its health hazards. The last three chapters refer to the impacts on the field and the environment of transgenic crops; to climate change and energy use and to the dilemma of the need for agriculture to effectively feed the world. It clearly indicates how that can be achieved. Each of the seven chapters includes notes with reference to sources of the most relevant scientific studies. As an example, Chapter 5 has 191 notes with their respective sources.
"Myths and Truths" is aimed at the broadest sectors of society and interest groups, including parliamentarians and officials who make public policy decisions. It constitutes an important milestone in the debate on public policies related to agriculture and food and aims to unveil the falsehoods that agro-biotechnology corporations that profit from genetically manipulated seeds spread in Chile and around the world.