Amina, Jordan, Karthik, Nick, Natalie

Ethical Issues Concerning Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)

With the rise of GMO's there was an inevitable opposition to the new technology. In order to fully understand the reasons for the strict opposition to GMO's that exist today one must understand the case of Diamond v. Chakrabarty. The landmark supreme court decision allowed corporations to own specific organisms. Many critics claimed that ownership of a living cell was unethical and would give corporations undue powers. This fear has led to the rise of much speculation on what actually were in GMO's, because owning the patent prevents outside investigation into the product. This lack of transparency has spawned many questions about the true effects of GMO's. Groups like Green Peace have questioned the safety of GMO's, but the results of many peer reviewed studies have consistently proven the safety of GMO's.

Photo citation: Ngan, Mandel. Supreme Court. 27 Jun 2015. Washington D.C., United States. The New Yorker. Web. 15 Nov 2015.


Genetically engineered food products pose many benefits that far outweigh ethical conflicts.

Health Benefits

Genetically Modified Crops and produce, despite what most people may think, are not harmful to the human body. In order for a new genetically engineered crop to undergo commercialization, it must be approved by the U.S. department of agriculture (USDA), the environmental protection agency (EPA), and the food and drug administration (FDA). To date, the USDA has made no claims that organically produced foods are healthier than those with the help of genetic modification. Most consumers don’t realize that a lot of the foods they already buy have been genetically altered in many ways that are helpful to their bodies such as orange juice and herbal tea which are enhanced with antioxidants. In the case of Golden Rice, genetic modification has allowed thousands of children in the developing world to receive a sufficient amount of vitamin A, countering the recent epidemic of blindness caused by vitamin A deficiency. Further benefits range from increased mineral absorption to vaccination for serious illness.

Food Security

With an ever-growing world population food security has become a very prominent issue within today's socio-political realm. Ensuring that each person has the opportunity to feed themselves and their families is a problem that must be taken head on. The most pragmatic steps towards the end of world hunger start with GMOs.
GMOs have the ability to solve many hunger problems in the developing world. Characteristics like drought tolerance, pest-resistance, and climate adaptability allow GMOs to be grown in a variety of environments while retaining high yield potentials. Overall, these improvements increase the supply of important high-calorie crops subsequently lowering price. The improvements also decrease our agricultural footprint since less crops will be lost to weather, pest, and climatic issues. In today's society, GMOs have been increasingly implemented throughout the United States, China, India, and South America, giving promise to the eventual spread of GMOs to other parts of the world.

Works Cited

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Gutmann, Amy. "The ethics of synthetic biology: guiding principles for emerging technologies." The Hastings Center Report July-Aug. 2011: 17+. Student Resources in Context. Web. 12 Nov. 2015.

Liberatore, Stephanie. "Q Is organic food healthier?" The Science Teacher 77.7 (2010): 74. Student Resources in Context. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

Moeller, Lorena, and Kan Wang. "Engineering with precision: tools for the new generation of transgenic crops." BioScience 58.5 (2008): 391+. Student Resources in Context. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

Schonwald, Josh. "Engineering the future of food: tomorrow's genetically modified food and farmed fish will be more sustainable and far healthier than much of what we eat today--if we can overcome our fears and embrace it. Here's how one foodie learned to stop worrying and love 'Frankenfood.'." The Futurist May-June 2012: 24+. Student Resources in Context. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

Wiley, Lindsay F. "Deregulation, Distrust, And Democracy: State And Local Action To Ensure Equitable Access To Healthy, Sustainably Produced Food." American Journal Of Law & Medicine 41.2/3 (2015): 284-314. Consumer Health Complete. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

Zilberman, David, et al. "Biotechnology and food security." Journal of International Affairs 67.2 (2014): 91+. Student Resources in Context. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.