What Are Genetically Modified Foods [Video]

DNA


There is a lot of talk about genetically modified food but there frequently seems to be far more talk than thought on the subject.

Yes, there are problems but they are not generally health related problems. The key problem, in my opinion, is that genetic modification happens so quickly now that the impact on the surrounding environment is difficult to predict. In other words, when plants were slowly manipulated over many years, any environmental impact was gradual and adjustments could be made. In 2013 genetic manipulation can happen in a single season and it is difficult to know beforehand how the surrounding environment will react.

That being said, GMOs actually offer great promise in a world dealing with climate change. Genetically modified plants have the potential to produce more food, and more nutritionally complete food on less land with fewer pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. There is the potential to produce more drought resistant plants for parts of the world where fresh water is becoming scare. In other words, overall, barring an unforeseen GMO caused environmental calamity the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

All organic, GMO free markets are a nice thought but, honestly, they are a luxury for a part of the world where we throw away almost as much food as we eat. The bulk of the worlds population does not ask if food is organic, or if it's genetically modified. They only ask if they can afford it. Genetically modified foods have the potential to make the answer to that question 'yes' a little more often.

Here is Scientific American editor Eric R. Olson to explain the science behind GMOs better than I could hope to.

(If the video does not load properly, go here)

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