Nobel Laureates Letter Supporting Precision Agriculture (GMOs)

Nobel Laureates Letter Supporting Precision Agriculture (GMOs)

To the Leaders of Greenpeace, the United Nations and Governments around the world

The United Nations Food & Agriculture Program has noted that global production of food, feed and fiber will need approximately to double by 2050 to meet the demands of a growing global population. Organizations opposed to modern plant breeding, with Greenpeace at their lead, have repeatedly denied these facts and opposed biotechnological innovations in agriculture. They have misrepresented their risks, benefits, and impacts, and supported the criminal destruction of approved field trials and research projects.

We urge Greenpeace and its supporters to re-examine the experience of farmers and consumers worldwide with crops and foods improved through biotechnology, recognize the findings of authoritative scientific bodies and regulatory agencies, and abandon their campaign against “GMOs” in general and Golden Rice in particular.


Scientific and regulatory agencies around the world have repeatedly and consistently found crops and foods improved through biotechnology to be as safe as, if not safer than those derived from any other method of production. There has never been a single confirmed case of a negative health outcome for humans or animals from their consumption. Their environmental impacts have been shown repeatedly to be less damaging to the environment, and a boon to global biodiversity.


Greenpeace has spearheaded opposition to Golden Rice, which has the potential to reduce or eliminate much of the death and disease caused by a vitamin A deficiency (VAD), which has the greatest impact on the poorest people in Africa and Southeast Asia.

Phillip Sharp
The letter campaign was organized by Richard Roberts and Phillip Sharp (pictured above), winners of The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1993 for their discovery of “split genes”. Photo: Photo: M. Scott Brauer

The World Health Organization estimates that 250 million people, suffer from VAD, including 40 percent of the children under five in the developing world. Based on UNICEF statistics, a total of one to two million preventable deaths occur annually as a result of VAD, because it compromises the immune system, putting babies and children at great risk. VAD itself is the leading cause of childhood blindness globally affecting 250,000 – 500,000 children each year. Half die within 12 months of losing their eyesight.


WE CALL UPON GREENPEACE to cease and desist in its campaign against Golden Rice specifically, and crops and foods improved through biotechnology in general;


WE CALL UPON GOVERNMENTS OF THE WORLD to reject Greenpeace’s campaign against Golden Rice specifically, and crops and foods improved through biotechnology in general; and to do everything in their power to oppose Greenpeace’s actions and accelerate the access of farmers to all the tools of modern biology, especially seeds improved through biotechnology. Opposition based on emotion and dogma contradicted by data must be stopped.


How many poor people in the world must die before we consider this a “crime against humanity”?




110 Laureates Supporting Precision Agriculture (GMOs)


Zhores I. Alferov              2000       Physics

Sidney Altman   1989       Chemistry

Hiroshi Amano  2014       Physics

Werner Arber    1978       Medicine

Richard Axel       2004       Medicine

David Baltimore                1975       Medicine

Paul Berg             1980       Chemistry

Bruce A. Beutler               2011       Medicine

Elizabeth H. Blackburn   2009       Medicine

Gunter Blobel    1999       Medicine

Paul D. Boyer     1997       Chemistry

Sydney Brenner               2002       Medicine

Mario R. Capecchi            2007       Medicine

Thomas R. Cech                1989       Chemistry

Martin Chalfie   2008       Chemistry

Steven Chu         1997       Physics

Aaron Ciechanover         2004       Chemistry

Claude Cohen-Tannoudji              1997       Physics

Leon N. Cooper                1972       Physics

Elias James Corey             1990       Chemistry

Robert F. Curl Jr.               1996       Chemistry

Johann Deisenhofer       1988       Chemistry

Peter C. Doherty              1996       Medicine

Richard R. Ernst 1991       Chemistry

Sir Martin J. Evans            2007       Medicine

Eugene F. Fama                2013       Economics

Edmond H. Fischer          1992       Medicine

Jerome I. Friedman         1990       Physics

Andre Geim       2010       Physics

Ivar Giaever       1973       Physics

Walter Gilbert   1980       Chemistry

Alfred G. Gilman *           1994       Medicine

Sheldon Glashow             1979       Physics

Roy J. Glauber   2005       Physics

Joseph L. Goldstein         1985       Medicine

David J. Gross    2004       Physics

Roger Guillemin                1977       Medicine

Sir John B. Gurdon           2012       Medicine

John L. Hall          2005       Physics

Lars Peter Hansen           2013       Economics

Serge Haroche  2012       Physics

Leland H. Hartwell           2001       Medicine

Harald zurHausen            2008       Medicine

James J. Heckman           2000       Economics

Dudley R. Herschbach    1986       Chemistry

Avram Hershko 2004       Chemistry

Gerardus ‘t Hooft             1999       Physics

  1. Robert Horvitz 2002 Medicine

Robert Huber    1988       Chemistry

Tim Hunt              2001       Medicine

Louis J. Ignarro  1998       Medicine

Elfriede Jelinek 2004       Literature

Daniel Kahneman            2002       Economics

Eric R. Kandel     2000       Medicine

Wolfgang Ketterle           2001       Physics

Aaron Klug          1982       Chemistry

Brian K. Kobilka 2012       Chemistry

Roger D. Kornberg           2006       Chemistry

Herbert Kroemer             2000       Physics

Finn E. Kydland 2004       Economics

Leon M. Lederman          1988       Physics

Yuan T. Lee         1986       Chemistry

Robert J. Lefkowitz         2012       Chemistry

Anthony J. Leggett          2003       Physics

Jean-Marie Lehn              1987       Chemistry

Michael Levitt    2013       Chemistry

Tomas Lindahl   2015       Chemistry

Rudolph A. Marcus          1992       Chemistry

Barry J. Marshall               2005       Medicine

Eric S. Maskin     2007       Economics

John C. Mather 2006       Physics

Craig C. Mello    2006       Medicine

Robert C. Merton            1997       Economics

Hartmut Michel                1988       Chemistry

James A. Mirrlees            1996       Economics

Paul L. Modrich 2015       Chemistry

William E. Moerner         2014       Chemistry

Mario J. Molina 1995       Chemistry

Edvard Moser    2014       Medicine

May-Britt Moser              2014       Medicine

Kary B. Mullis     1993       Chemistry

Ferid Murad       1998       Medicine

Erwin Neher       1991       Medicine

RyojiNoyori        2001       Chemistry

Sir Paul Nurse    2001       Medicine

Christiane Nusslein-Volhard        1995       Medicine

Arno Penzias      1978       Physics

Stanley B. Prusiner          1997       Medicine

Jose Ramos-Horta           1996       Peace

Sir Richard J. Roberts      1993       Medicine

Bert Sakmann    1991       Medicine

Bengt I. Samuelsson       1982       Medicine

Randy W. Schekman       2013       Medicine

Brian P. Schmidt               2011       Physics

Richard R. Schrock           2005       Chemistry

Phillip A. Sharp  1993       Medicine

Hamilton O. Smith           1978       Medicine

Oliver Smithies  2007       Medicine

Thomas A. Steitz              2009       Chemistry

Joseph H. Taylor Jr.         1993       Physics

Daniel C. Tsui     1998       Physics

Harold E. Varmus             1989       Medicine

Sir John E. Walker            1997       Chemistry

  1. Robin Warren 2005 Medicine

AriehWarshel    2013       Chemistry

James Watson   1962       Medicine

Eric F. Wieschaus              1995       Medicine

Frank Wilczek    2004       Physics

Robert Woodrow Wilson              1978       Physics

Ada E. Yonath    2009       Chemistry


NOTE: Alfred Gilman has passed away since signing this letter.

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