There is much controversy surrounding genetically modified organisms. The opponents worry about possible negative effects that were not predicted by the scientists (such as new allergens or toxins or spread of antibiotic resistance), which can then be spread by cross-pollination with regular plants (if the GMO is a plant), or they simply don’t like the idea of meddling with natural processes. Sadly enough, the opponents are yet to have a single scientific study to prove their fears of GMO’s dangers – every GMO goes through rigorous testing and study and is found to be perfectly safe. In my opinion, that’s just throwing out excellent food sources, and in the days of food shortages and growing populations it’s just plain wrong.
Well because GMO means Genetically Modified Organism. Here in America we should be scared of that too. Especially because there have not been many tests done (especially unbiased ones) that show the effects of them.
Below are some links to show you how these organisms are made.
In lots of the developing world, people are afraid because they’ve been given false information. Consider this article from India [Link 2] about the genetically engineered eggplants they recently tried to introduce (but changed their minds because the public was so opposed.)
-It claims that the insect resistant eggplants are genetically engineered to be resistant to a patented Monsanto herbicide. (There are GMOs like this, but this isn’t one of them. Herbicides (weed killers) have nothing to do with protecting against insect attacks.)
-That the seeds produced by the genetically engineered eggplant don’t germinate. (Biologists know how to make plants that would produce sterile seeds, but no genetically engineered plant on the market does that.)
For a more in depth look at the acceptance of genetically engineered crops, or lack there of, in developing countries, check out Sarah Davidson’s excellent article on ringspot-virus resistant papayas in Thailand [Link 1] published in Plant Physiology, that shows how these papayas, developed in the public sector and credited with saving the Hawaiian papaya industry, still ended up being rejected in Thailand in large part based on misinformation like this:
“Yes, I have grown GE papaya. I received it from my brother. People told him if he ate it, he would be infertile. However, I ate the fruits from this papaya and they are delicious.” —an Isaan farmer
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