Mendel in the Kitchen is a highly readable and well documented account of the science, issues and people involved in the development of genetically engineered foods. This is a must-read for anyone interested in learning how the DNA in our food has been altered over the years.
Any farmer you talk to could tell you that we’ve been playing with the genetic makeup of our food for millennia, carefully coaxing nature to do our bidding. But as science takes the helm, steering common field practices into the laboratory, the world is now keenly aware of how adept we have become at tinkering with nature – which in turn has produced a variety of questions.
Are genetically modified foods really safe? Will the foods ultimately make us sick, perhaps in ways we can’t even imagine? Isn’t it genuinely dangerous to change the nature of nature itself?
Recommend Mendel in the Kitchen to anyone who wants to formulate an opinion on GM and is willing to work through the science and history thereof. Even if you happily anti GM, this book is worth reading so that you can be informed about the other side.
"As daily consumers of the great agricultural engine of America, it's only fitting that we know how the system works. This book takes a historical approach to agriscience and the agritech business and reveals startling facts about both "conventional" and organic systems. This book was really hard for me to put down. Its description of the stresses and forces on the American farmer really moved me and has increased my awareness and respect for the struggle to provide food for the world. Now I lecture to all my friend about agriculture.
It helps to know the fundamentals of molecular biology (DNA -> RNA -> Protein) like your high school/college Intro to Bio, but if you don't, just read through and the later chapters will better explain and help understanding the earlier ones."
- Michael Herman "foson.blogspot.com" (New York, NY)
"There are three things that make this book so good. First, the two authors create a single story with a single voice, and both are a delight to read, in addition to the argument's inherent intrigue and importance. Second, the treatment of intellectual history and science is subtle and readable, with single pages and short diagrams dedicated to anything from how transposons work to how we know about DNA in the first place, delicately woven into the bigger argument. I found the history of patenting organisms particularly interesting. Lastly, the book is beautifully researched and makes a VERY compelling argument."
- Swarthmore Student
Want to learn more? Check out more recommended books on GMOs and genetically engineered food.