Genetically Modified Organisms: Safety & Environmental Impact (47 min podcast)

Science Vs peels back the label on GM foods to find out whether they’re safe to eat and what impact they can have on the environment. Both sides of the debate have written impassioned songs, but what does the science say? We talk to Prof. Fred Gould, Dr. Janet Cotter, and Prof. David Douches to find out.



In the original version we suggested that the Bt corn that killed monarch caterpillars was taken off the market as a direct result of studies demonstrating its harm. But although the corn was eventually taken off the market, the company that made it later told us it was phased out “for business reasons”, such as declining sales — and they did not mention the dead butterflies.

We Are Nowhere Close to the Limits of Athletic Performance

Genetic engineering will bring us new Bolts and Shaqs.

the potential improvements achievable by doping effort are relatively modest. In weightlifting, for example, Mike Israetel, a professor of exercise science at Temple University, has estimated that doping increases weightlifting scores by about 5 to 10 percent. Compare that to the progression in world record bench press weights: 361 pounds in 1898, 363 pounds in 1916, 500 pounds in 1953, 600 pounds in 1967, 667 pounds in 1984, and 730 pounds in 2015. Doping is enough to win any given competition, but it does not stand up against the long-term trend of improving performance that is driven, in part, by genetic outliers.

.. The genomics researcher George Church maintains a list of some of these single mutations. They include a variant of LRP5 that leads to extra-strong bones, a variant of MSTN that produces extra lean muscle, and a variant of SCN9A that is associated with pain insensitivity.4