Tag: GMO

Environmental Issue: Genetically Modified Organisms

Environmental Issue: Genetically Modified Organisms

Good evening,

The next issue I would like to discuss is one that many humans around the world automatically assume is a bad idea and they have images spawn in their heads about evil scientists in secret underground laboratories. The question we will look into is that should we use and ingest genetically modified foods.

Because of the effects of climate change, whether or not you believe it is caused by humans or if it is a natural occurrence is irrelevant here (and will be discussed at a later date), which is clearly happening to some extent, it is having a global effect on the agricultural industry. This is causing a shortage of food and in some areas certain crops become harder to grow because of a shortened growing season and therefore become more expensive to buy once it reaches your local supermarket.

Genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) are just the result of pulling the DNA from one organism and putting it into another one, changing its genotype. Specific genes are extracted based on the desired trait that humans want expressed in the new organism; humans want to facilitate a change in that organisms phenotype. In plants, this process allows the GMO to be more resistant to pests, diseases and different products of their environments; these are only a few examples. Soybeans, maize and canola are examples of common GMO’s found right here across Canada.

Research of genetically modified organisms shows that the upsides far outweigh the downsides. It shows that GMO’s are typically just as safe as “natural” or “organic” foods; while GMO is a name that gets a bad rap, the names natural and organic pinned to different foods seems to be mostly a marketing ploy designed to raise prices in supermarkets. There are typically no adverse side effects to consuming a GMO as compared to a natural food, and most humans would never realize a difference if given both at once.

Ignorance of the subject of genetically modified foods has lead to an unwarranted negative perception by the public who do not have all the information required to form an educated opinion. I believe that the government and the agricultural industry in general should do more to educate the public about what exactly a GMO is and why it is nothing for them to fear. There are no deadly chemicals injected into these crops and there isn’t a snake gene injected into a corn plant giving some poisonous mutant hybrid (as cool as that may be in the realm of science fiction).

In short, in the near future more and more crops will be genetically modified to produce higher crop yields due to acquired resistance to pests and various diseases. This will allow humans to produce more food in general, and at a lower cost, avoiding mass global food shortages, especially since the world population is increasing at a rapid rate. For genetically modified organisms, I believe that educating the general public is key.