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Are GMOs good or bad? Show more Show less
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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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There are both good and bad aspects of GMOs

There are many benefits (or promising potential) to GMOs, but there are also serious risks. GMOs have great potential to address world hunger and enable us to continue to grow enough while dealing with climate change. GMOs also cause harm to the environment and pose legal and economic problems.
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The Argument

As with most things, GMOs aren’t all good or all bad but are in between. They have both benefits and problems. The biggest good of GMOs is that they could be the answer to how to solve world hunger and how our crops can continue to grow with the increasing challenges that climate change will create. GMOs can have added nutrients, be disease and/or drought-resistant, are more durable, produce higher yields, grow in severe weather conditions, and be able to be transported farther to those in need. GMO crops have also lowered the price of crops such as corn, soybeans, and sugar beets by 15-30%.[1] GMOs appear to be safe to consume and should create less pesticide use. However, herbicide use increased by 26% as weed resistance increased because of GMOs.[2] These herbicides are toxic and harm people, animals, and the environment. They are also leading to superweeds (herbicide-resistant weeds). The herbicide increase associated with GMOs is harmful to the environment. Another environmental problem with GMOs is that they are destroying crop biodiversity. For example, the U.S. has lost 6,000 out of 7,000 of its apple varieties.[3] There are also legal and socio-economic problems associated with GMOs such as that patent licenses prohibit others from researching those crops which restricts the ability of independent research into the safety of GMOs.[4] Patents also allow GMO corporations (such as Monsanto) to sue farmers for patent infringement when modified seeds accidentally flow onto non-GMO farms.[3] There is incredible potential with GMOs, but there are currently big problems with their implementation.

Counter arguments

Some would argue that there aren't good aspects of GMOs. The main argument that GMOs can address world hunger is flawed because world hunger isn't caused by a lack of food, but by a lack of purchasing power. Also, GMO crops are not less expensive because GMO seeds are much more expensive than non-GMO seeds. GMO corn can cost $150 more per bag than non-GMO corn.[5] Others would argue that there aren't bad aspects of GMOs. The main argument that GMOs are bad for the environment doesn't account for the fact that GMOs result in fewer pesticides, less water waste, and less tillage (which removes nutrients from the soil and causes erosion) to address weeds since the crops are herbicide-resistant.[6] Also, there aren't legal risks because corporations only go after people that purposefully infringe on their patent rights.

Proponents

Premises

[P1] GMOs have great potential to address world hunger and how to grow while dealing with climate change. [P2] GMOs are causing harm to the environment and pose legal and economic problems. [P3] There are both good and bad aspects of GMOs.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] GMOs won't help address world hunger because it isn't caused by a lack of food, but by a lack of purchasing power. [Rejecting P2] GMOs are good for the environment because they result in less pesticide use and tillage. Also, there aren't legal risks because corporations only go after people that purposefully infringe on their patent rights.

References

  1. https://www.ilcorn.org/news-and-media/current-news/article/2017/05/benefits-of-gmos
  2. https://modernfarmer.com/2013/12/post-gmo-economy/
  3. https://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/reports/1770/seed-giants-vs-us-farmers
  4. https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/10.1086/697749
  5. https://modernfarmer.com/2013/12/post-gmo-economy/
  6. https://medium.com/@debunkingdenialism/five-ways-gmos-benefit-the-environment-c48eee7e2765

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This page was last edited on Wednesday, 15 Jul 2020 at 02:13 UTC

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