GMOs – What Is All The Fuss?

There has been a lot of talk lately about GMO’s or genetically modified organisms. The recent decision by General Mills to do away with GMOs in Cheerios cereal has been all over the news. There was a story this morning on Good Morning America regarding an apple variety that has been developed that reduces browning of the fruit after cutting. GMO corn produces larger crop yield. Isn’t this all just better living through science?

What is GMO? A GMO is any living organism that has had it’s genes altered through science or genetic engineering to produce different traits from that of the original organism. Examples of GMOs are fish, animals yeast, bacteria, and plants. GMOs are widely used to create food and other non food products such as drugs or biotheraputics.

Research into genetically modified organisms have helped us take the issue of starvation a step forward. By developing plant seeds that are more resistant to pests, harsh weather, and poor soil quality, we are able to grow more food for the ever growing human population. Corn crops can produce more corn. Tomatoes can grow larger and potatoes can even be used as edible vaccinations for anything from cholera to typhoid. Plants growing in poor soil can also do more to prevent soil erosion in countries that are losing their farming abilities due to the issue.

So What’s The Big Deal?

There are many genetically altered foods in stores now that people are not aware of. In many cases consumers are not made aware of the altered product and therefore are not given a choice in the matter. That is an ethical issue. Insects become intolerant to the pest control properties of the plant increasing the need for the use of pesticides on the crops. Threat of cross-pollination could produce “superweeds” increasing the need for herbicides. This increased need introduces added contaminates into the soil and ground water. There is also the lack of research on the long term effects from the consumption of these new foods.

Is It A Conspiracy?

The average life expectancy of an American man is 75.6 years. In 1913 That expectancy was 50 years. That is a difference of 25.6 years in a century. Versus a change of just about 4 years in the period from about 1830 to 1880. Look at the advances we have made in the field of medicine in those past 100 years. Look at the advances in science. The field of genetic engineering is in it’s infancy, but I don’t think that there is plot by Monsanto and the U.S. Government to control us or even harm us through the use of this technology. On the contrary. This is an amazing breakthrough and our scientists are looking for ways to advance our humanity and keep us thriving despite the conditions we have created for ourselves on this planet.

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