with permission from http://www.agbioworld.org

C.S. Prakash

C.S. Prakash is one of many researchers who champion the use of genetically modified (GM) crops. He hails from India, where he received most of his education. He is currently a Professor of Plant Molecular Genetics and Director of the Center for Plant Biotechnology Research at Tuskegee University in Alabama. His research interests focus mainly on transgenic sweet potatoes. Specifically, he works to incorporate herbicide resistance genes and to increase their nutritional value (AgBioWorld.org, 2004).

What Dr. Prakash is most passionate about, however, is serving as a spokesman from the scientific community to educate the public on the benefits of genetically modified crops. He vehemently believes that GM food poses absolutely no risk to the general public, and that GM crops hold the key to solving world hunger and malnutrition. Perhaps the most visible contribution he has made is the founding of AgBioWorld.org in 2000, a site that serves as an open forum for scientists to post statements on the benefits of GMOs. The site itself contains a Declaration of Support for Agricultural Biotechnology, which over 3,200 scientists have signed, including 24 Nobel Prize winners. Outside of his website, Prakash seems to take every opportunity to get his opinion published in any periodical available, be it the New York Times or Nation's Restaurant News.

Davidson College Home

Biology Department at Davidson College

Back to Genetically Modified Organisms Homepage

While Progressive Farmer named him Man of the Year for 2002, not everyone in the GM community looks favorably at Dr. Prakash (AgBioWorld.org, 2004). Those not in support of the viewpoints he endorses are quick to criticize his arguments as mere rhetoric. One site critical of him speculates that he is taking payments from Monsanto, maker of the herbicide Round-up, and the GM food products resistant to its weedkiller (Mindfully.org, 2003). Another site questions the validity of some of the facts Prakash tends to make about GM food (GMWatch.org).

Prakash himself has no qualms with the way he presents his information—he is very passionate about what he believes, and is not afraid to share those beliefs. However, a reading of AgBioWorld.org reveals many editorials that bear shocking similarities to articles one would expect to find on a political commentary website. His articles are often riddled with lists of “Myth and Fact” that tend to belittle those who disagree with him (Conko and Prakash, 2003). He often seems to skirt aside any issue of the validity of what his opponents are actually saying, tending to regard them as simply “outlandish claims” (Conko and Prakash, 2002). And while he contests that his oppponents “have a history of lobbing emotionally charged allegations,” often he does exactly the same thing (Conko and Prakash, 2003). When asked about the use of GM crops in Africa , Prakash replied, “Ask a starving Zambian child if she would like to have the luxury of that bogus debate right now” (Verrengia, 2002).

While Dr. Prakash is an accomplished scientist, his methods of argumentation, while convincing on a primary glance, do not seem to indicate the whole side of the story. Prakash refuses to consider other arguments to the issue, and actually often utilizes the same propagandist tactics that he claims his opponents do.



This page is part of an assignment for a Genetically Modified Organisms seminar at Davidson College, Davidson, NC

Questions or comments: email wigreendyke@davidson.edu

Last updated: February 4, 2004 by Will Greendyke


  “Biotech Food Myths, Misconceptions and Misinformation -- A Response to False Activist Claims.” AgBioWorld.org 20 Jan. 2004 . 25 Jan 2004 . http://www.agbioworld.org/biotech_info/articles/GMmyths.html
  “C.S. Prakash Biography.” AgBioWorld.org 20 Jan. 2004. 25 Jan. 2004. http://www.agbioworld.com/biotech_info/articles/prakash/prakashart/prakash_bio.html
  “C.S. Prakash.” Profiles. GMWatch.org 25 Jan. 2004. http://www.gmwatch.org/p1temp.asp?pid=26&page=1
  Conko, Gregory and C.S. Prakash. “The Attack on Plant Biotechnology.” AgBioWorld.org 2002. 25 Jan. 2004. http://www.agbioworld.com/biotech_info/articles/prakash/prakashart/attack.html
  Conko, Gregory and C.S. Prakash. “Sound Science, Not Silence.” AgBioWorld.org 9 May 2003. 25 Jan. 2004. http://www.agbioworld.org/biotech_info/articles/soundscience.html
  “Scientists In Support Of Agricultural Biotechnology” AgBioWorld.org 26 Jan. 2004. 25 Jan. 2004. http://www.agbioworld.com/declaration/petition/petition.phtml
  “Sound Science Must Prevail in Sacramento .” Commentary by editors of Mindfully.org. Mindfully.org. 20 June 2003 . 25 Jan. 2004 . http://www.mindfully.org/GE/2003/Sound-Science-Prakash20jun03.htm
  Verrengia, Joseph B. “ Genetically modified food and famine becomes life-or-death debate at world summit.” Associated Press, September 2, 2002 . Lexis-Nexis. Davidson College Library. 25 Jan. 2004 http://web.lexis-nexis.com/envuniv/