Genetically Modified Organism, GMO, can refer to a plant, animal, or organism that it modified or altered by humans in a way that is not natural. Humans have been genetically modifying foods for many centuries, by artificially selecting which genes will develop and breeding organisms with others in order to produce a better offspring. The technology that prompted the growth of GMOs in food came around 1973, when scientists discovered a method of cutting a gene from one organism and putting it in another organism. Around 1992 FLAVR SAVR tomatoes came into play, and GMOs have been with us ever since. Today, scientists have used this technology to make foods resistant to pests, stay fresh longer, and produced the “best” produce.
The benefits of GMOs are many and include, better shelf life for produce, better nutrients, less land used to cultivate produce, less water used, less use of harmful insecticides and pesticides, and can even save a type of produce from extinction. There are some setbacks that come with GMOs. There is the fact that GMOs are pretty much everywhere and there is no labeling requirement in the US. There is also the problem that GMOs encourage the use of additional herbicides. “Farmers have increased the number of toxic herbicides because of this by more than 1500% since the first GMO crops were introduced.”(Rangel, 2015)
I do think that experimentation on foods is unnatural, because if left to its own devices, we would not have some of the foods we have currently, but I do not believe that this is wrong or that it is endangering people. As stated before, when farmers mixed different breeds of plants in order to make a different plant, that plant was genetically modified, so I don’t believe there is a good or bad way to modify organisms.
There has been a lot of debate as to the consequences of eating GMOs. Many have been suspicious of long term affects of eating GMOs, however there is no science to prove this claim. There were also claims of GMOs putting farmers out of business and causing them to commit suicide from losing their livelihoods, however “it was later concluded that suicide rates were actually unchanged after introduction of GE cotton, and that there were economic benefits of GE cotton for most Indian farmers.” (Regoli, 2019)
Rangel, G. (2015, August 9). From Corgis to Corn: A Brief Look at the Long History of GMO Technology. Retrieved from http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2015/from-corgis-to-corn-a-brief-look-at-the-long-history-of-gmo-technology/ (Links to an external site.)
Regoli, N. (2019, January 9). 24 Advantages and Disadvantages of GMOs. Retrieved from https://vittana.org/24-advantages-and-disadvantages-of-gmos