Topic 2: 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.

56 thoughts on “Topic 2: GMOs

  1. RE: Jasmine McCarl. May 9, 2015

    In Jasmines example, “the toxic insecticide produced by GM corn was found in the blood of pregnant women and their unborn fetus,” was incorrect. The authors identified the BT protein in maternal and fetal blood, a protein found in some GMOs, but also commonly used as a pesticide in organic farming. The researchers’ measurements were based on an experiment/assay designed to detect BT’s Cry1Ab in plants, not in humans (Genetic Literacy Project 2015). The pregnant women in the study would have had to eaten 7 kilograms of corn in order to get the BT measurements that were detected in her blood. Therefore no proper study shows that GMOs leave toxins inside your body and cause problems.

    Genetically Modified Organisms are very helpful to people in developing countries because they receive very little to no food, due to its scarcity. “It is estimated that in Asia alone, close to 800 million people go to bed hungry every night do to food shortage” (Grist 2014). This can be solved with GMOs; it would increase food supplies which would eliminate hunger. The fact that people in developing countries have a hard enough time looking for a meal they clearly do not always get the four basic food groups needed to stay healthy. GMOs can have added nutrients with a little modification in a staple crop such as rice to add amino acids, vitamins and minerals to the crop. This would help a lot of people in developing countries get the healthy diet they need. Therefore with GMOs we can increase the production of food in developing countries as well as eliminate starvation.


    Grist. (2014, January 22). Retrieved May 16, 2015, from

    Genetic Literacy Project. (2015, January 25). Retrieved May 16, 2015, from

  2. Re: Graham Anderson

    Graham Anderson stated that “Food was not meant to be played or tampered with.” I have a lot of trouble with this statement because foods have been modified ever since farming began around 12,000 years ago. Farmers need to play around with different plant breeds to see which species provide the highest agricultural advantage. Corn is one example of a plant that has been famed and modified over thousands of years without any chemicals – just breeding and classic “Survival of the Fittest.” Corn today is much more advanced than the corn from many years ago. It is more immune to insects and diseases. Even corn that hasn’t been modified has these advantages since during times of disease, the corn with the trait of immunity to that disease would live on and the corn without it would die. The corn with the trait would live on and produce offspring that still carry the trait for the immunity into the next generations. Although his process has been going on for thousands of years, humans have started to get involved and I believe that they should continue to an extent.

    Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in my opinion, cause people to immediately think of toxic chemicals and health issues. But GMO’s provide humans today with a major advantage over what humans ate before. In third world countries, humans don’t receive enough food to feed everyone. This problem is so extreme that “a child dies every two seconds worldwide from starvation” (Genetically Modified Foods). Another problem is that humans in third world countries don’t receive enough vitamin A in their diets, and as a result, some can become blind before they reach adulthood. As it turns out, rice is an excellent source of high levels of vitamin A and is a plant that can be grown fairly easily. If rice can be modified in a way to survive the heat of Africa and still be able to provide its consumers with a substantial amount of vitamin A, then many opinions of Genetically Modified Organisms would change. GMO testing must continue. Humans are having a massive population growth rate with many diverse people, and food needs to be supplied. Sometimes GMO foods can help out when naturally grown food isn’t fast enough.

    Benefits of GM Food:. (2005). Retrieved May 18, 2015, from

  3. Re: Owen Stickly
    You stated “BT corn requires less work to produce and it produces a higher yield, which can help in solving hunger problems”. I believe that GMO can be beneficial is some areas of the world but they have taken over the Canadian and American markets which is a negative aspect. Third world countries may need these GMOs but places like Canada and America do not need them. So why are we still using them? Taking a gene from one plant and then putting it into another one can cause humans to become allergic to both items and not just the one. This can be a huge issue because so many children have allergies. It is not beneficial to be switching the genetics of plants. Altering the genetics of plants will limit the food people can eat because they may be allergic to the GMOs.

  4. GMO Debate

    RE: Hazen Mercer

    In Rebuttle to Hazen Mercer’s statement, “GMO’s are of no harm to our society and I believe that they can only be beneficial towards its consumers”. I disagree with this statement. They do have their benefits for sure. But saying that they have no harm to us and that they are only beneficial is being naiive.

    Genetically modified organisms, such as food do have their benefits like more and longer lasting food. Which seems great! Until you look at the other side of the coin. The main issue with GMO’s is all of the health risks that come along with eating GMO’s. It’s not just a couple of issues with a low risk rate. It’s multiple health issues affecting millions of people from around the world. A study links GMO’s to gluten disorders that affect 18 million Americans (Circa 2014). Some of the effects include imbalanced gut bacteria, impaired digestion, damage to the intestinal wall and much more (Circa 2014). GMO’s don’t only affect the humans walking the earth, but they can also impact babies that haven’t even been born yet. Glyphosate (A type of GMO), is flawed and unreliable. It is linked to a number of birth malformations (Circa 2014). GMO’s have their benefits in the sense that if we use them we can feed a lot more people around the world, but it comes with very heavy risks. To say that it has no harm on our society is ridiculous. It has numerous health issues that negatively impact the young and the old worldwide. GMO’s come with their risks and benefits and it’s up to you to decide if risking yours, your family and your friends health is worth spending a few more dollars on corn.


    “10 Scientific Studies Proving GMO’s can be harmful to human health”. Walia, Arjun. Circa. April 8, 2014. Retrieved May 19, 2015.

  5. Re: Dana
    In rebuttal to the statement: “It is stated that GMO’s have a potential negative effect on the environment and Human health.” I actually agree with this statement. The key word here is potential. Studies have been done on many crops of Genetically Modified Foods, and the results are always the same. No direct effects, but the Genetically Modified Foods have the POTENTIAL to be harmful to humans. In my opinion, the extraordinary advantages of GMO foods greatly outweigh the “potential” disadvantages.

    It is hard to disagree with the use of GMO’s when everyone has most likely eaten Genetically Modified Corn in their lifetime with little chance of disease coming with it. A new Genetically modified version of the potato has just been created within the past 15 years that absorbs less fat when fried, thus increasing the healthiness of this hardy vegetable. Speaking of increasing health in the world, we can now put vaccines that fight against a virus that causes childhood pneumonia in apples (Understanding GMOs, 2007). These apples could be sent to places in the world that fight poverty on a daily basis. I personally think that there are virtually no disadvantages to GMO products, and I believe that underprivileged children in the 3rd world receiving these products would agree with me.

    Ritter, D., Adam-Carr, C., & Fraser, D. (2002). Selective Breeding. In Nelson Biology 11 (p. 141). Canada: Nelson Thomas Learning.

    GE Crops and Foods (On the Market). (n.d.). Retrieved May 14, 2015, from

  6. Re: Anneke
    In rebuttal to the statement: “Genetically modified crops do not decrease the use of pesticides, they actually increase them.” You have no source to back up your information so it cannot be verified. Charles Benbrook(PHD) states: “Biotechnology proponents have claimed since the mid-1990s that both herbicide-tolerant and Bt-transgenic varieties significantly reduce pesticide use, despite much empirical evidence to the contrary.” (Pesticide Outlook, 2000). This scientist has PROVEN there is significantly less pesticide use when growing Genetically Modified Organisms.

    A very interesting and frequently discussed topic is GMO’s. GMO’s stands for Genetically Modified Organisms, and is now commonly used in all corn. In fact, almost everyone that has eaten corn in the past 15 years have most likely eaten some that have been genetically modified. In the modern era it is a generally accepted practice. For thousands of years, farmers have cross bred plants to evolve and improve the quality and yields of crops. Traditional breeding methods that farmers have used are slow, and require quite intensive labour. Even in nature plants and animals selectively breed, thus ensuring the optimum gene pool for future generations.

    GMO’s are beneficial and will play a role in malnutrition prevention, improving crop yield, and decreasing pesticide use. A company has stated before that; rice with added Vitamin A can help prevent blindness in over 100 million children suffering from Vitamin A deficiency (Disney 2007). Of course who knows exactly what the intentions of this food conglomerate truly are but, the fact that it is possible means that there is hope and that this is a viable option to be pursued by truly good people. More studies have shown that genetically modified tomatoes have been able to be altered in the way that they soften slower. This means they have a longer shelf life and can improve everyday living slightly. Recently, GMO tomatoes have been shown to survive frost, therefore reducing the risk of entire crops lost (Disney 2007). My position on GMO’s is that the benefits overcome the very small risks.

    “Understanding GMO.” David Suzuki Foundation. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 May. 2015. .

    The Eyes of Nye, Walt Disney, Genetically Modified Organisms Video, 2007.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>