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< Back to question Are GMOs good or bad? Show more Show less

GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are organisms (plants and animals) that have had specific genes from a different species inserted into its own DNA. This results in the crop having new desirable features. Examples include papayas that are virus-resistant or corn that is herbicide-resistant. Our food has been genetically modified since the first GMO tomato (Flvr Svr) in the early 1990s. The acceptance of GMOs has varied between countries; the United States, Argentina, and Canada have quickly adopted GMOs while the EU countries have passed stricter legislation. There is a heated debate over whether GMOs are good or bad for our health, environment, world hunger, and the economy.

GMOs are neither good nor bad Show more Show less

GMOs are too complex a topic to be summarized as either good or bad. GMOs cannot be evaluated as one group since there are too many different organisms, modifications, and techniques. There are many good aspects (or promising potential) to GMOs, but there are also serious risks.
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All GMOs can’t be evaluated as one category

There are too many kinds of GMOs to try to evaluate them all together. There are medicines, vaccines, crops, and animals. The term GMOs also encompasses various biotechnology methods such as transgenesis, gene silencing, and mutagenesis.
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The Argument

GMOs are a huge category. It encompasses different organisms, modifications, and techniques. GMOs can be plants, animals, bacteria, and fungi. It is difficult to discuss whether all these organisms and resulting products are good and bad. Crops can be seen as unsafe or harmful to the environment and modifying animals can be seen as risky or unethical, but there are medicines and vaccines that have been created by genetically modifying bacteria (such as insulin) that everyone would agree saves lives.[1] This makes a general discussion about GMOs difficult. Even if we only focus on genetically modified crops, there is still a range of modifications. Some crops are modified to be nutrient enhanced, pesticide-producing, or herbicide-resistant crops. These are all very different and have different benefits and concerns. There are also many different techniques that are used to create GMOs. One technique is transgenesis (moving genetic material from one species to another).[2] Another technique is gene-editing (altering the organism’s DNA instead of inserting new genetic material).[3] There is also mutagenesis (using radiation or chemicals to mutate genes).[2] Each technique comes with its own consequences. Trying to evaluate all GMOs together does not make sense. It also will make any substantial legislation for “GMOs” incredibly difficult.

Counter arguments

The topic of GMOs is already very complex and dividing them up into separate groups will only unnecessarily complicate the issue further. Additionally, anti-GMO proponents argue against the process of genetic modification for safety, environmental, or ethical reasons. Yet, it is much rarer to see criticism of GM insulin than GM corn. This is hypocritical. Separating the topic will aid this hypocrisy by saying one form of GMOs are good and another is Frankenfood.


[P1] There are many different kinds of GMOs. [P2] There are many different kinds of modifications. [P3] There are many different kinds of techniques used to modify organisms.

Rejecting the premises



This page was last edited on Tuesday, 14 Jul 2020 at 01:41 UTC

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