15.01.2018 change 15.01.2018

Dr. Wojciech Zalewski: GMObjective

Wojciech Zalewski/ Photo: own archive Wojciech Zalewski/ Photo: own archive

On his popular science blog GMObiektywnie (GMObjective), agricultural scientist and molecular biologist Wojciech Zalewski tackles controversies around genetically modified organisms, especially those used in agriculture. He explains that food produced with the use of GMOs can be beneficial for health.

The author of the blog and fanpage "GMObiektywnie" (GMObjective) Wojciech Zalewski is a finalist in the Media category in the 13th edition of the Science Populariser competition organized by PAP - Science in Poland and the Ministry of Science and Higher Education.

"People doubt that food produced using GMO plants does not hurt, and they simply can not believe that it can even be beneficial to health, like Plenish soybean oil is. While working scientifically, I watched the public debate on this subject with growing disagreement with the publication of pseudofacts. I felt that as a person educated in this field I have an obligation to share my knowledge on the subject" - the blogger explains the motives for his popularising work.

In the years 2006-2012, Dr. Zalewski worked in the Plant Breeding and Acclimatization Institute - National Research Institute. At that time he started his blog, which now - after completing his PhD - is his way of maintain contact with current scientific reports. Promoting the results of research on GMOs is also a satisfying hobby and a kind of mission. In the blogger\'s family there are teachers who maintain the tradition of passing knowledge.

In addition to running a blog, Dr. Zalewski participates in debates organized by both supporters and - more often - opponents of GMOs. He was one of the lecturers at a science picnic in Bydgoszcz. He participated in social consultations and the citizens\' panel on food labelling in Poland. He reviews books on agricultural biotechnology. He gives interviews in which he argues that there is no scientific evidence to support the argument about the harmfulness of genetically modified organisms or food produced on the basis of such organisms to our health. He emphasizes that the World Health Organization takes the position that the available GMO food does not pose a threat to human health.

His blog GMObiektywnie contains details of research on Plenish soy. Consumption of soybean oil obtained from genetically modified soy may lead to reduction of overweight - this is indicated by the research results published in early October 2017 in the journal Scientific Reports.

"I would like more scientists to support the truth with their authority, but at the same time, despite my scientific achievements, I always say during the debates that people should not take my word for it. I encourage people to look things up themselves, check, I sow seeds of doubt. When we talk about GMOs, we usually meet either opponents - or uncertain, neutral people who would like to learn something. I urge them to verify the information given by pseudo-authorities, and sometimes unfortunately also by scientists" - said Dr. Zalewski.

The author runs his blog completely non-profit. He publishes only verified information, provided in reputable scientific journals. He regrets that scientists who express views based on honest knowledge are lynched almost like "criminals" on websites created by opponents of GMOs.

The blog GMObiektywnie was started on the POLITYKA.pl portal in February 2012. Currently, there are almost 280 entries. Entries are commented. Fanpage on the social networking site Facebook has about 1800 followers. The blog is recommended, among others, by the Biotechnology Committee of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

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