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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

May 16, 2013 at 7:57 AM

Biotech potatoes in Idaho

Questions about genetically engineered spuds

Genetically engineered potatoes grow in rows inside a J.R. Simplot Co. greenhouse in southwestern Idaho. Simplot is seeking U.S. regulatory approval to market the potatoes. (John Miller / The Associated Press)

Genetically engineered potatoes grow in rows inside a J.R. Simplot Co. greenhouse in southwestern Idaho. Simplot is seeking U.S. regulatory approval to market the potatoes. (John Miller / The Associated Press)

The J.R. Simplot Co. should be applauded for trying to keep their biotech potato a potato rather than creating a frankenfood [“Company a believer in biotech spuds,” Business, May 15].John Miller’s article does not really reveal how the potato was created and only states that the process is quicker than traditional crossbreeding of potatoes.

While I believe what Simplot has done should be applauded, I would like it if the following two questions be answered before using the method in the field: 1. Can it be evaluated for non-spud genes by an independent lab, and 2. Can the new potato plant cross with non-genetically modified potato plants? If it passes both tests, then it’s probably still a potato and worthy of eating the next time I have fish and chips. If it won’t cross with other potato plants then maybe the lab technique needs some refinement. It seems worth doing if you end up with plants that still fit in with the evolutionary character of plants on our planet.

Keith Wellman, Freeland

Comments | More in Food/nutrition | Topics: genetically modified foods, Genetically modified organisms, genetically-engineered

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