The Encyclopedia Britannica defines a GMO as,

 “an organism whose genome has been engineered in the laboratory in order to favor the expression of desired physiological traits or the production of desired biological products.”


 This definition can lead this to many application in the field of bio-technology from cloning a sheep named Dolly in 1996 to the ability to put parts of bacteria called Bacillus thuringiensis into corn plants.  This gave the corn the ability to produce its own pesticide and reduce the attacks by insect larvea that corn suffered.


On face value this sounds like a great idea a plant that can produce its own pesticide will need less labor and less application of other chemicals.  But many people in the world are concerned about the potential ramifications of the use of genetic modification techniques in the human food supply.  Something to keep in mind about GMO's is that unless you grow all of your own food and/or you have been eating certified organic you have problably eaten GMO food.  A recent study found that 60-70% of all food on US grocery shelves contains GMO products.  It is found in the soybean, corn cotten and some of the oils that make up many parts of processed food in stores.


Many organizations will claim that GMO foods are no different than the specilized breeding of crops or animals that humans have down for thousands of years.  If the genetic modifiaction techniques are used to combine plants or animals that could have been intebred naturally then that arguement makes sense.  However many of the products like the BT corn above contain genetic material from species that never could have intermingled naturally.  When you do that it crosses the line from selective breeding to playing “God” as some people have contended. 


Below you can seesome of the typical benefits and concerns associated with GMO foods.


Pro's of GMO Crops

  1. Make crops easier to grow in harsher conditions

  2. Resistant to dieseae

  3. Herbicide proof (Round-Up Ready Soybeans)

  4. More Production for Less Effort

  5. Increased Nutritional Value (Golden Rice)


Con's of GMO Crops

  1. Possible introducing food allergen into previously safe food

  2. Might create superweeds or diesises

  3. Adversly reducing nutrient content

  4. Ingestion of pesticdes in the plants themselves.

  5. Could eleminate local farmers and food suppliers

  6. Contaminate the wild plant genetic diversity.


Studies are still ongoing whether or not GMO's are a bad or good thing.  One thing that we know for certain is that even if the world were to end tommorow GMO's are here to stay.  The moment they are placed in the environment they will always be there.  It is up to you to decide whether or not GMO's are something you wish to try and avoid or not. To avoid them entirely is virtually impossible if you live in the Western world but you exposure can be reduced by either growing all your own food or eating only certified-organic.