Neil deGrasse Tyson said “We have systematically genetically modified all the foods, the vegetables and the animals that we have eaten ever since we cultivated them,” continuing to describe how different seedless watermelons, long stem roses, modern apples and other produce is compared to the original wild versions.
In this case, Tyson was referring to traditional breeding and hybridization techniques, however this is a common mistake many people make which is eerily similar to one of the Biotech industry go-to “talking points.”
He also called people who question the safety of GMOs “complainers” while also admitting that the modern process of genetic modification of crops like corn, soy, canola and others is fundamentally different.
“It’s called artificial selection and that’s how we genetically modified them,” he said in regards to the previous foods.
“So now we can do it in a lab and all of a sudden you’re going to complain? If you’re the complainer type, go back and eat wild apples… we are creating and modifying the biology of the world to serve our needs, I don’t have a problem with that because we’ve been doing it for tens of thousands of years, so chill out,” he concluded, once again confusing traditional breeding with an entirely new technology that brings an entirely new set of risks to the table.
Tyson since added another response via Twitter that can be read here. In it, he clarifies his position but also asserts yet again that there is no inherent risk unique to GMOs compared to traditional agriculture.