Genetically modified organisms (GMO) are organisms, such as plants and animals, that are biologically changed through biotechnology. The genes possessed by plants, animals, and microbes are altered in a laboratory to give it new traits that are considered both positive and negative.
The Pros of GMOs:
- Food with GMOs is less likely to bruise and turn brown. They also increase the shelf life of food. Further, it prevents less food waste as it increases the attractiveness of food, making it more appealing for customers to purchase. When going to stores, I notice that people tend to buy the best looking products as it may somehow relate to its quality.
- GMOs add increased nutritional value with vitamins and minerals. I believe this is beneficial to not only people who have limited access to food, but also those with nutritional deficiencies. GMOs can also add more protein to foods to assist people who have a low protein intake. In general, this can cause you to feel full longer, which is especially beneficial to people who are vegetarian or vegan.
- GMOs can made foods insect and pest resistant. This also helps with decreasing food waste since food is less likely to go bad because of bugs.
- GMOs enable produce’s ability to thrive in a harsh climate, such as drought, heat, or severe cold weather. This mitigates the risk of food shortages, even during times of extreme weather changes.
Brendan Curiale, a junior student, said, “I personally don’t have any problems with GMOs, as the term GMO can cover a variety of different ways and methods to grow crops/food. At its core, virtually all food nowadays has some form of GMO; humans for generations have bred crops to meet certain standards or to achieve certain marks.”
The Cons of GMOs:
- Some research ties GMOs to potential increase in risk of cancer. Although the research on this issue is still ongoing, I think it is possible.
- Some research also shows that GMOs may have unintended and unpredictable consequences for the environment. For example, modified crops can lead to concerns of new pests and disease problems. In some cases, the insects that eat GMO based products could develop a resistance to the bacteria that kill them, letting them evolve in an unsafe way, thus damaging the environment, as well as other crops.
- GMOs have been linked to creation of superbugs according to at least one research study out of Iowa State University published in 2014. Superbugs are either bacteria, fungi, viruses, or parasites that are resistant to traditional antibiotics, making them harder to treat when they cause infections in humans and animals. As a result, this can lead to antibiotic resistance which makes infections harder to cure, development of newer and possibly deadlier bacteria, and increased mortality rates.
So, do the pros of GMOs outweigh the cons? That’s for you to decide.