The Case for Engineering Our Food (TED Talks)

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  1. Do you pay any attention to food labels when buying food?
  2. Do you try avoiding genetically modified food? Why/why not?
  3. Has your opinion on genetically modified food changed after listening to this talk?
  4. Why might many people be against genetic modification?
  5. Can you remember any examples proving that genetical engineering can do a lot of good?
  6. How can we be sure that this food is safe to eat?
  7. What does the presenter imply by saying «there is no pure food»?



staple (food) = basic

I work on rice, which is a staple food for more than half the world’s people.

to uncover = to discover something that was previously hidden or secret

It wasn’t until the 1990s that scientists finally uncovered the genetic basis of resistance.

to submerge = to go under the surface of water or liquid; to put something or make something go under the surface of water or liquid

Although rice grows well in standing water, most rice varieties will die if they’re submerged for more than three days.

to graft = to cut a piece from a living plant and attach it to another plant

Now, many people don’t mind genetic modification when it comes to moving rice genes around, rice genes in rice plants, or even when it comes to mixing species together through grafting or random mutagenesis.

a snippet = a small piece of information or news

He took a snippet of viral DNA and he inserted it into the papaya genome.

to feel queasy = sick or nervous

Now, some of you may still feel a little queasy about viral genes in your food, but consider this: …

to feast on = to eat a large amount of food, with great enjoyment

Take a look at this pest feasting on an eggplant.

rigorous = done carefully and with a lot of attention to detail

After 20 years of careful study and rigorous peer review by thousands of independent scientists, every major scientific organization in the world has concluded that the crops currently on the market are safe to eat and that the process of genetic engineering is no more risky than older methods of genetic modification.