It’s been just short of a year since I’ve had the pleasure of being among an at-large group of people who regularly speak up in favor of science. Specifically I am referring to genetic engineering, transgenic technology, genetic modification – call it what you will – in the realm of crops and food. This ‘group’ is worldwide and is comprised mainly of plant geneticists, farmers, industry professionals, other scientists and pro-science types who wish to spread the word that science really does have our backs here. I have met only one of these individuals face to face but am in steady contact with the others via blogs and social networking. It is my hope to meet more of this esteemed group over time.
I respect these folks a lot. Their message – that genetic engineering is a useful tool in agriculture – is clear and makes sense to me. (It is also no secret that that was not always the case but that’s a whole other story and you can find it on my blog if you poke around). 
One of the individuals I refer to above, PhD candidate Karl Haro von Mogel, co-founded the website Biology Fortified, a site I have linked to numerous times here at Sleuth4Health. It is the place to get educated about GMOs. Do you want research? User friendly articles written by experts? You’ll find it all there, along with an impressive board of directors and list of contributing authors. Karl knows his stuff. He is not a shill for the industry, is not on the payroll of Monsanto, DuPont or any other multinational. He, like other plant geneticists, is someone I can unequivocally say deserves our public trust. Yes this is a strong statement I am making but I stand by it wholeheartedly. I’ve been in contact with too many scientists now and to put it simply, they aren’t out to poison us! What they want is to use the best that science has to offer to help the food supply, do more with less, help the planet, help people. And sometimes that ‘best that science has to offer’ is genetic engineering. The technology is a tool among other tools.
Let me offer a close-to-home example of just one of the multitude of ways biotech can be a tool we really need right now. Lately I’ve been reading and hearing a lot about the severe drought conditions in California. I live in Oregon and we are experiencing a bit of that drought ourselves this year. Most of the produce I see in stores in my area comes from California, with Oregon and Washington a close second and third. Drought conditions mean more demand, less supply and higher prices. That affects me directly. Biotech can offer us drought resistant seeds. Monsanto has brought a drought tolerant corn seed to market. (Once again, I am linking to Biology Fortified.) It seems to me that this is a super relevant avenue for biotech research. The Colorado River, a major source of water for California, is drying up! I’m hoping someone in-the-know will comment.
I write all this because Karl Haro von Mogel has launched a kickstarter campaign regarding his cuddly creation affectionately known as Frank N. Foode. Frank is a little plush character, eleven on the cuteness scale, designed to make genetic engineering approachable and dare I say even fun? I love his approach here. Lets take the stigma and fear out of one of the most promising technologies our planet has right now as we forge ahead into an era when the effects of climate change become the present and are nolonger off somewhere in the future.
Frank wants to hit the big time!
Here is information about the campaign and a lighthearted, funny video starring Karl and Frank. Enjoy! And if you believe in this cause, please support the effort! I tried to embed the video but had no success. To see it – and you must – you’ll have to click here.
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 See Science Is Laughing At Us