Ask Jill

Questions and Anwsers about Health, Food, and Gardening

Dear Jill,

Hi Jill,

I have been reading your advice column for a year now, and I finally have a question! Recently in biology class we were having a discussion on GMOs (Genetically Modified Organism). I understand what a GMO is, the class was talking about the recently papaya farmer vote on Hawaii. The farmers wanted to continue to use the GE (Genetically Engineered) papayas. Its easier for the farmers to grow GE papayas then non GE papayas. People of the island want GMOs to be blamed completely from the island. I was wondering what are the affects of GMOs, should the FDA ban GMOs from ever supermarket shelve?


A confused highschooler

A Confused Highschooler

Genetically modified organisms are scary at first, but I hope after you read this your not as confused or scared. GMO have been around since farming began. Think about this your a farmer, and farming is your livelihood without it your family will starve. You grow corn, one field of corn grew faster than your other field and you harvested more than the other fields. The next planting season are you planting seeding from the quick growing corn seeds or the normal growing seeds? I would hope that you plant the quick growing. You just found out that your neighbors corn crop was bug resistant. After learning this you and your neighbor plant your seeds and his seeds in the same field knowing that they will cross pollenate. After this harvest season you now have a hybrid, a cross between the quick growing corn, and your neighbors bug resistant corn. You have just made a GMO, you cross two corn plants creating a GMO that has the best trait of both corn. Nothing scary or strange about, you have simply taken the best qualities of the corn plants to get the best harvest. I believe that GMOs are and should be in every shelve in the world, its the best possible to feed to world population, and insurance farmers can survive. Remember no farmers, no food.

Understanding the risks of GMOs is difficult because people only have begun worrying about them in past few years. Like anything else that is new or different people are afraid of it. They say that GMOs are linked to the increasing amounts of children with autism, cancer, infertility, and early onset of Parkinson's. Is there really an increase in autism or as a society are we better at labeling things. Technology has increased drastically in the past 50 years, the rapid changes while welcome have been frightening, but at the same time are awesome. Think about it, back then no one recognize cancer until it was too late, now its recognized so early that people are able to achieve completely remission. Back then a child with autism was just a child with poor social skill; now with advances in medical fields we now understand they have a medical condition. While many people believe that GMOs have negative affects, I believe that the only affects are positive.

Thanks for writing and hope to hear from you again!


Next week I'll be answering questions about gardening!