The usual hipsters and food faddists are soon going to face the most delightfully delicious dilemma. Quinoa has the merits of being a forgotten grain from a little regarded civilisation. The "rediscovery" of it thus brought tears to the eyes of all who would mark their social prowess through their bowels. And so it became tres trendy, certifiably chic.
The same group of cheerleaders are of course largely the people who insist that no GM will ever sully those bowels. No, we're not sure either but they at least insist they have some reason why.
At which point:
It has become a byword for metropolitan, health-conscious dining, but new research suggests quinoa could be destined for a far more important future.
Scientists believe the “supercrop” could solve the problem of feeding the world’s growing population.
The resilient seed, which was once the "mother grain" of the ancient Andean civilisation, thrives in harsh environments and provides a more balanced source of nutrients than cereal.
Well, isn't that lovely? And now for the dilemma:
Experts have now discovered a way of manipulating the quinoa plant changing the way it matures and produces food to make the bitter seeds sweeter.
Researchers from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology sequenced the Chenopodium quinoa genome, creating the world's highest quality quinoa sequence which has already yielded insights into the plant's traits.
The reason you sequence the genetic code is so that you can manipulate it. Thus, coming soon enough, GM quinoa.
Which of the two fads will win? More of a cheap and nutritious grain with which to feed us all, in that most healthy manner as is currently claimed? Or the method of making it cheaper and more nutritious blacklisting it from all GoodThink diets?
Our suspicion is that GM making it cheaper will be the thing which makes it unfashionable. For how can you go around making a moral statement by consuming something that's cheap enough for everyone?