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As we progress as a society, so too does  our technology. Innovation  and invention are cohesive, and our species  has a natural instinct to  create and improve. At some point humans drew  their attention towards  improving something else, the very food that we  consume. Genetically  modified organisms (or GMOs) are nothing new,  “Humans began genetically  modifying plants to provide food more than  10,000 years ago. For the  past hundred years or so plant breeders have  used radiation and  chemicals to speed up the production of genetic  changes.” (Nina  Fedoroff). GM foods are important in today’s society  because of the  necessity of food due to the large population of people  on the planet.  Some places have harder times growing food than others,  and GM plants  can be “reprogrammed” to grow in areas with unproductive  soil.   

   With the ability to alter and change  the very genetic code of an  organism, there are sure to be benefits and  drawbacks as a result.  There are many positive aspects of GM foods such  as resistance to  disease, high nutritional value, environmental  benefits, and even  health boosts. On the other hand, there are negative  effects as well.  “Most GMOs tolerate the pesticide glyphosate, but this  genetic  alteration remains controversial because this pesticide might  cause  cancer.” and “The GMO side effects on humans also remain a  concern. New  genetic technologies have the unwanted effect of the added  gene  possibly entering the host's genome causing a permanent alteration  in  its basic genetic structure.” (Janet Renee). Whether GMOs are good or   bad can be open to interpretation but there are definitely both valid   arguments for either side.   

  There is a stigma associated with GM  foods; many people are  gullible to rumors and false information which  makes people believe  they are awful. I do believe GMOs are unnatural, as  is anything that’s  man-made, but I do not believe they are dangerous.  Of course, there are  some negative side effects but GMOs can provide a  source of food to  places previously unable to grow.  

  Both conventional crop breeding and GMOs  share the same goal, “to  produce crops with improved characteristics by  changing their genetic  makeup. GM achieves this by adding a new gene or  genes to the genome of  a crop plant. Conventional breeding achieves it  by crossing together  plants with relevant characteristics, and selecting  the offspring with  the desired combination of characteristics, as a  result of particular  combinations of genes inherited from the two  parents.” However, with  conventional breeding there are a couple of  downsides such as the  amount of time it takes to cross breed and also  some of the  characteristics and genes desired may not be available. GM  is more time  effective and desired genes and traits can be engineered,  but we still  don’t fully understand all of the side effects. If the same  result can  be desire from both methods which one is the better option? I  side  with the conventional method because it is a more natural  approach.  

  I feel as though GMOs is such a divisive  topic because of  tradition and lack of understanding. For many  conventional breeding is  the “back in my day” method and people tend to  be stuck in their ways.  Also, GM foods are relatively new and we learn  more about them every  day, and the lack of understanding scares some  people. When people  envision food, they want to see farmers behind them,  not men in lab  coats.   

References 

Nina Fedoroff (Links to an external site.) 

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/can-we-trust-monsanto-with-our-food/ (Links to an external site.) 

Harri Daniel 

http://benefitof.net/benefits-of-gmos/ (Links to an external site.) 

Janet Renee 

https://www.livestrong.com/article/417880-risks-side-effects-of-genetically-modified-food/ (Links to an external site.) 

https://royalsociety.org/topics-policy/projects/gm-plants/how-does-gm-differ-from-conventional-plant-breeding/ 

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    • As we progress as a society, so too does our technology. Innovation and invention are cohesive, and our species has a natural instinct to create and improve. At some point humans …