The Pros and Cons of GMOs
A genetically modified organism (GMO) is an organism that has had its genetic code artificially altered. Typically, this genetic modification is implemented for the purpose of creating a more desirable organism to produce superior food, medicines, and other organic goods; however, the drawbacks of GMOs are seldom fully understood. So that is why I would like to list both the advantages and disadvantages of GMOs, in order to better understand the effects and consequences, if any, of GMOs.
Reasons For GMOs
- Crops: GMO foods can be more resilient to pests and harsh conditions, such as weather, soil, and water. Additionally GMO plants are created to produce more food at a lower cost, thus increasing the availability of food everywhere for everyone.
- Medicines: GMO helps create exiting medicines faster and cheaper. This includes merging two or more different types of medicines into a single medicine. Additionally, GMO allows the creation on new medicines too.
- Cures: GMO can also include modifying human genetics. By removing or replacing bad genes or insert new genes entirely, people can be cured of genetic defects and diseases. Additionally, mosquitoes could be genetically modified to no longer carry dangerous diseases to indirectly prevent diseases.
- Miscellaneous Products: GMOs are created to produce superior organic products, such as pest resistant trees for increase yields of wood. Another example of GMO is bacteria that produce fuel as a byproduct.
- Research: GMOs provide alternatives to medical and product experimentation that would not be easily testable otherwise.
- Unknown Side Effects: Unfortunately, it is impossible to know all of the possible side effects that modifying the genetics of any organism, no matter has simple the organism. This unknown could make a more dangerous organism and even death. For instance, assume a crop plant was genetically modified to become completely resilient to a certain pest, and that pest becomes extinct because of this change. However, that now extinct pest could have been useful for other valuable organisms, thus people were not aware of the dependencies of the pest.
- Genetic Drift: One fear of GMO is that the superior genes could drift into other organisms with unintentional consequences. For instance, a crop plant could be modified to become resilient to a certain pest, and that pest could absorb the new genetic change to form a new more dangerous pest. Another popular example could be a plant that was genetically modified to grow larger to produce more food, and this new plant cross pollenates with another unrelated plant to produce super-weeds or worse.
- Labeling Food: Many people want the choice of purchasing GMOs or non-GMOs; and as a result, they want all GMO foods labeled accordingly. Since food is currently not labeled, this is definitely a disadvantage to GMO, even though GMO foods have not been proven to be more harmful that non-GMO foods.
by Phil for Humanity