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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 bad Show more Show less

GMOs come with legal/economic risks (research restrictions and lawsuits against farmers) and health risks (increased amount of toxic herbicide on the crops and unintended DNA changes). The increased use of herbicide and decreased biodiversity associated with GMOs are also harmful to the environment.
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There are legal and socioeconomic risks associated with GMOs

GMOs are patented which restricts the ability for independent research. It also allows corporations to sue when farmers have GM seeds accidentally flow onto their farms. This threatens the livelihoods of non-GMO and organic farmers.

The Argument

Companies develop GMOs for several business reasons. One reason is that companies can charge much more. GMO seeds are much more expensive than non-GMO seeds. GMO corn seeds can cost $150 more per bag than non-GMO corn seeds.[1] Another reason that companies develop GMOs is that when a seed is genetically modified it is then able to be patented. There are serious legal and socio-economic risks associated with patenting crops. First, patent licenses prohibit others from researching those crops.[2] This restricts the ability of independent organizations and scientists to research the safety of GMOs. Second, the widespread use of GMOs is threatening non-GMO and organic farming. When modified seeds accidentally flow onto non-GMO farms, the GMO corporations (such as Monsanto) can then come after those farmers with patent infringement lawsuits.[3] This threatens those farmers livelihoods.

Counter arguments

Patents do not harm people. Corporations only go after people that purposefully infringe on their patent rights. Patents also don’t impede research. There has already been extensive independent research. GMOs were tested by more than 275 global independent science organizations that all came to the same conclusion that GMOs are as safe as non-GMOs.[4]

Proponents

Premises

[P1] GMOs are patented. [P2] Patents restrict the ability of independent organizations and scientists to research the safety of GMOs. [P3] GMO seeds can flow onto non-GMO farms. [P4] GMO corporations can come after those farmers with patent infringement lawsuits [P5] The use of GMOs is threatening the livelihoods of non-GMO and organic farmers.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P2] There has already been extensive independent research. [Rejecting P4] Corporations only go after people that purposefully infringe on their patent rights.

References

  1. https://modernfarmer.com/2013/12/post-gmo-economy/
  2. https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/10.1086/697749
  3. https://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/reports/1770/seed-giants-vs-us-farmers
  4. https://gmo.geneticliteracyproject.org/FAQ/are-gmos-safe/

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This page was last edited on Thursday, 9 Jul 2020 at 02:09 UTC

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