The Debate on GMOs

Xander Sawyer, Contributor

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Over time plants and animals change and adapt through evolution and natural selection. Now in recent years advancements in technology now allow us to change plants and animals by ourselves and we can genetically modify both plants and animals using GMO’s. There is some controversy of whether using this new technology is ethical or not. Some believe this is tampering with nature, others believe it is completely safe and beneficial.

What is a GMO? A Genetically Modified Organism is an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering. GMOs can be used for many different things like weed control, pesticide, to enhance taste and flavor in fruits or vegetables, and extra minerals in plants.

There are many benefits in using GMOs that may include better taste and quality of produce. Through modification of foods, peppers can now become hotter or sweeter, corn can now be sweeter than usual, and you can perfect certain difficult flavors to be more palatable. GMOs are more resistant to diseases as well with genetic “vaccines” encoded in the plants DNA. They are also more nutritious with added vitamins and minerals to provide greater nutritional value.

As there are some benefits of GMOs there are some cautions as well. Some disadvantages of GMOs are environmental damage. This is usually seen through crossbreeding. Plants that are cross bred with a GMO to become more resistant to herbicide that will create more need for GMO efforts damaging the environment. No economic value because they still take same amount of time to mature as than a non-GMO product. GMO plants may even cause growth of allergic reaction in the general population.

Mr. Battle’s, Environmental Science and Earth Science teacher at Newfield High School, said; “Most of the debate over GMOs usually centers around whether or not they cause health problems. While the overwhelming consensus in the scientific community is that GMOs are safe for human consumption, they pose a number of potential environmental problems that are not associated with more sustainable farming practices.”

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