Richard J.Roberts, the 1993 Nobel laureate for Medicine is willing to go to great lengths to get backers for his case. Richard the atheist has turned to Roberts is also faith in an attempt to gather reaching out support for his campaign. Rob- to political erts has had meetings with Pope leaders — one Francis and Buddhist groups two of them being convince them to endorse the safety of GM food and PM Narendra the necessity of the biotech Modi who, in food production to address according to the health needs of millions of Roberts, poor people.
Roberts, like several other Nobel laureates, had stayed away from campaigns of any sort till 2016. At a European Union meeting two years ago on the future of medicine, he decided it was time to gather support for GM food. Roberts changed his mind after listening to many plant scientists talk about how difficult it was for them to do research on GM tech and how they couldn’t even publicly talk about their work because of opposition from the so-called green parties and activist groups like Green pea.
What is even more frustrating for biochemists like Roberts is the fierce opposition to Golden Rice, a GM technique that produces beta carotene in rice, which gets converted into Vitamin A. One of the leading causes of blindness among children is lack of Vitamin A. to combat this, scientists from Germany and Britain developed Golden Rice in 1990. But opposition was so fierce that in 2013 a group of green activists destroyed fields of the rice in the Philippines. In May, the USFDA declared Golden Rice.
During a short meeting with the Pope in 2017, Roberts handed over a plea with signatures of 133 Nobel laureates endorsing GM tech. He is now seeking a one-on-one meeting with him to convince the religious head of the benefits of GM tech. Roberts is also reaching out to political leaders — one of them being Prime Minister Narendra Modi who, according to Roberts, seems to be interested to know more about the tech.
Roberts says in his website: “It is, in fact, a feature of our own, human genetic makeup. We are all GMOs as is every organism on Earth.” It is like shifting a GPS system from one car to another vehicle. “But the anti-GMO groups would like you to believe that if you put this GPS system of an aeroplane in a car, your car will start flying, or if you put a salmon gene in a plant, the plant will start swimming. Obviously, that’s not how it works.”
About 130 Nobel laureates came together to start a petition asking heads of states and UN ambassadors to reject campaigns against crops and foods improved through biotechnology, and to accelerate the access of farmers to all the tools of modern biology. “Opposition based on emotion and dogma, and contradicted by data, must be stopped,” the campaign proclaimed. Roberts argued that food is akin to medicine to many poor people and they should have better access to food. GM tech was the way to improve crops .