"Humans have been modifying plants and animals for millennia. The dawn of molecular genetics, however, has kindled intense public scrutiny and controversy. Crops, and the food products which include them, have dominated molecular modification in agriculture. Organisations have made unsubstantiated claims and scare mongering is common. In this textbook Paul Thompson presents a clear account of the significant issues--identifying harms and benefits, analysing and managing risk--which lie beneath the cacophony of public controversy. His comprehensive analysis looks especially at genetically modified organisms, and includes an explanation of the scientific background, an analysis of ideological objections, a discussion of legal and ethical concerns, a suggested alternative--organic agriculture--and an examination of the controversy's impact on sub-Saharan African countries. His book will be of interest to students and other readers in philosophy, biology, biotechnology, and public policy"-- "Although the current debate about agricultural biotechnology is often narrowly focused on molecular biotechnology (molecular genetic modification), the technological application of biology in agriculture predates the advent of molecular biology. For more than 10,000 years humans have been manipulating the traits of animals and plants (Mazoyer and Roundart, 2006; Thompson, 2009) by manipulating their genes and, thereby their genomes (the specific combination of genes in an organism's cells); the dog was likely the earliest animal to be domesticated (about 16,000 years ago). Early domestication of agricultural animals and plants was based entirely on crude experimentation (trial and error). Biological knowledge was elementary; humans learned early that offspring resemble parents, that selecting animals and plants with desirable traits and breeding them created a population of animals with those traits, and that occasionally a new trait seemed to appear"-- Scientific background. Population genetics ; Quantitative genetics ; Hybridisation ; Molecular genetics -- Application of genetics to agriculture. Genetic modification of plants and animals : techniques ; Agricultural biotechnology : current products and future prospects -- Philosophical and conceptual background. A primer of logic, reasoning and evidence ; Relevant ethical theories ; Harm and risk analysis ; The precautionary principle -- The controversy : ideological and theological objections. Advocacy and NGOs ; Interfering with life ; Patenting life -- The controversy : purported benefits. Environmental benefits ; Yield and food security benefits ; Health benefits -- The controversy : purported harms. Economic and corporate harms ; Environmental harms ; Health harms -- The organic alternative. The environment : conventional, organic and GM agriculture ; Health : evidential lacunae ; The problem of yields ; GM and organic the false dichotomy -- Impact on low and middle-income countries : poverty, farming, and colonial legacies -- Concluding remarks.