GMO’s: Why is there a debate?

I recently stumbled across a few Scientific American articles (links below if you want to read the whole articles – I recommend it, they are really interesting) and thought I’d share some more information about GMO’s.

There was a study that said GMO’s can cause tumors?

In the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, a paper was published two years ago that concluded that genetically modified corn caused brain tumors in the rats that they studied.  I have heard many people who oppose GMO’s cite this article as proof that genetically modified food can be dangerous.  Recently, the journal retracted that paper, because the paper claimed these huge conclusions off of a study with a very small sample size, meaning they studied only a few rats.  In a scientific study, smaller sample sizes decreases the chances that a definitive conclusion can be reached, because other factors are more likely to affect the experiment with a small number of rats than a large amount.  Therefore, the journal decided the paper claimed too many conclusions that the evidence did not support.

The second article I have cited also lists (in 3-4) many other research papers claiming GMO’s are dangerous, in which the conclusions of these papers have been overstated by the media. 

Mixing genes from different species is unnatural

Actually, a human genome can consist of DNA sequences that are nonhuman; viruses can transmit DNA from one species to another easily, and they have been doing this for millions of years. 

But the plants contain pesticides that we would eat

Many of those herbicides and pesticides are harmful to insects and plants, but not harmful to humans.  Many of the genes that are inserted into plants are from bacteria that we use in organic farming anyways as natural pesticides and herbicides; the only difference is inserting that gene into plants rather than using the bacteria or organism that the gene originated from. Therefore, we end up consuming these anyways.


Testing of GMO crops should definitely continue, but so far no conclusive evidence has been shown that all genetically modified crops in general are dangerous.


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