Genetically Modified Foods

What are GMOs?

GMOs are genetically modified crops that have one or more gene from another organism. The inserted gene creates a beneficial characteristic in the plants such as tolerate insects and drought.
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Genetically Modified Food Pros

They are easier for farmers to grow
GMOs are more resistant to bugs
They can be more nutritional than normal foods
GMOs can grow faster and stay fresher longer.

Genetically Modified Food Cons

There are long term health concerns but no one is certain because there haven't been any long term studies of the effects on humans.

Large amounts of herbicides are used on the plants.

They caused the creation of very tough weeds.

Animal studies have suggested that GMOs may damage the liver, kidneys and immune system.

Most GMOs are not labeled in the US.

The Eyes of Nye - Genetically Modified Foods

Should it be mandatory to label GMOs in the US?

Many people and organizations want to make it mandatory to label genetically modified foods so consumers can decide for themselves whether they want to eat GMOs or not. There are large companies in the food industry such as Monsanto, Coca Cola, and Kraft Foods who are opposing the mandatory labeling. The companies think that if they label the GMOs that not as many people will buy the foods and food prices for non GMOs will rise. It is mandatory to label GMOs in over 60 other countries and they haven't had problems with food prices increasing. The only way in the US to know that you are not eating GMOs is if it says it on the food or if you buy organic foods.

Environmental Effects

Growing GMOs has reduced the amount of insecticides used on plants. The amount of herbicides used on the plants has increased drastically. The GMOs are engineered to be resistant to the herbicides so it can be sprayed on the plants and it only kill the weeds. The widespread use of the herbicides created a weed that is resistant to it and scientist are trying to figure out a solution to the problem.
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Vocab

Genetic engineering - Making changes in the DNA code of a living organism.


Transgenic - an organism that has DNA from another organism artificially introduced into it


Selective breeding - When humans control which plants will pollinate each other to develop a specific characteristic in the plants.

Should the United States be growing GMOs?

There are many good points for why we should and shouldn't be growing the plants. I think without them it would be healthier but we would have higher food prices because farmers wouldn't grow normal crops as fast and they aren't as resistant. I think overall GMOs are a good because we need them to feed the growing population. There are still a lot of problems with GMOs and scientists need to do studies to figure them out.