Topic 3: GMOs
For thousands of years farmers have used a process of selection and cross breeding to continually improve the quality of crops. Even in nature, plants and animals selectively breed, thus ensuring the optimum gene pool for future generations. Traditional breeding methods are slow, requiring intensive labor: while trying to get a desirable trait in a bred species, undesirable traits will appear and breeders must continue the process over and over again until all the undesirables are bred out.
In contrast, GMOs receive one or a few targeted genes in a single generation in order to acquire a population with desired traits such as:
- Rice with built-in Vitamin A that can help prevent blindness in 100 million children suffering from Vitamin A deficiency;
- A tomato that softens more slowly, allowing it to develop longer on the vine and keep longer on the shelf;
- Potatoes that absorb less fat when fried, changing the ever-popular french fries from junk food into a more nutritional food;
- Strawberry crops that can survive frost;
- An apple with a vaccine against a virus that causes childhood pneumonia.
Statement: GMOs are beneficial and will a role in malnutrition prevention, improving crop yield, and decreasing pesticide use.