GMOs: Salvation for Humanity
By: Maegan Jones
GMOs, otherwise known as genetically modified organisms, tend to take the center of attention during discussions about world hunger and mass production. Even though the phrase “GMO” sounds terrifying, the process of creating modified food is pretty simple. According to scientists from Harvard University, during the GMO process, the DNA from one plant or animal is inserted into another. For example, the essence from one ear of corn is planted into more seeds making the latter last longer and more resistant to varying conditions. Many suspect items that are genetically modified take out nutrients and replace food with ingredients that increase the risk of cancer and other diseases. Fortunately, many scientists and engineers argue against those claims and suggest GMOs are the answer to world hunger since the organisms provide food that is more affordable to those living in poverty. In addition, most Americans consume GMOs every day since Genetically Modified (GM) foods are grown from soy, corn and other seeds. Despite the fact GMOs have benefits; several believe that organic foods will always reduce the risk of disease. Organic may be natural, however, natural does not always equate to safe, affordable or healthy meals.
According to the US Department of Agriculture, genetically modified organisms have dramatically increased since 1996 with over 90 percent of soy, corn and simple grains grown from modified seeds. In other words, you have to make a cautious effort to avoid GMOs. Seeds are engineered for more than mass consumption. According to a study from Carrington College, 93 percent of soybeans and 82 percent of cotton plants are herbicide tolerant.
One of the most useful attributes of GMOs are the organisms’ resistance to insects. In other words, crops are at lower risk with being infected by parasites. Also, GMOs are considered “super weeds” in that they are tolerant to pesticides. GMOs are not affected by climate change and can be sent to third world countries with extremely hot or cold weather. Also, they last longer than organic food supplies. Stronger colors reside with genetically modified plants giving them a more appealing look. According to Ohio State University, some GMOs are manufactured to have higher amounts of protein and calcium. According to Carrington College, the economy also benefits from GMOs, with over 98 billion dollars worth of production increased between 1996 and 2011.
With all the benefits received, are GMOs really terrible? There will always be genetically engineered crops, so the decision to eat organic or not resides with the consumer.