Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Do Not Panic: GMOs Are Good!

In a few weeks, I will be posting a full response to the anti-GMO movement that has recently spurred from public paranoia. Below, I have posted a few of my main sources that outline why GMOs should not be feared. If you have been paying attention to the news lately, the public and legislature have been hammering away at Genetically Modified Organism, but more generally they are attacking GM plants. People are claiming that because these plant variations are not found naturally, they are harmful for human and animal consumption. However, there is a major problem with their argument... their logic is not supported by any hard scientific facts! Really, thousands of test have all found that GMOs are just as good as organic foods. Aside from that, they help the environment, can lead to economic growth, and greater agricultural sustainability which is becoming hard to sustain as our world population continues to rise and unprecedented rates!

"An Absurd Law." Nature. N.p., 24 Feb. 2010. Web. 29 Jan. 2015.

The article claims that a new law that outlawed the sell and cultivation of genetically modified organisms would destroy Turkey’s emerging biomedical research field. The claim is supported by the fact that the law puts a strain on the research field by requiring that scientists apply to Turkey's agriculture board to conduct even trivial experiments; these applications can sit up to 90 days before they must be decided upon. This constraint on research would clog labs and render any kind of biomedical research nearly impossible. This article is relevant because the bill is an example of why it is important for the public to understand that GMOs are not harmful.

"GMOs: Yes or No?" Running and Fitnews May-June 2011: 2-4. ProQuest Central. Web. 01 Feb. 2015.

 The articles main claim is that there is no hard evidence that GMOs are bad for consumption. The article also criticizes the fact that the public only thinks with its “gut feeling” and therefore is turned off to GMOs. The author uses many examples of how GMOs would benefit everyone; these examples range from the decrease of applied pesticides, to the reduction of greenhouse gases, to the reduction of heart attacks in the USA due to an increased salmon consumption, to the possibility of lab grown meats. This article embodies the positive effects of utilizing GMOs.

Kagolo, Francis. "Africa: GMOs Good for Africa's Development, Says Harvard Don." AllAfrica.com. All Africa, 22 Apr. 2013. Web. 02 Feb. 2015. <http://allafrica.com/stories/201304221642.html>.

Francis Kagolo’s article focuses on Professor Calestous Juma, a Harvard University scholar, who visited Africa to urge President Yoweri Museveni to accept GMOs into the African market. Professor Juma said that GMOs would bring greater income security, economic growth, and stability to Africa. GMOs would stimulate Africa’s agricultural sector, which remains its largest economic sector. To explain himself, Professsor Juma used the example of the banana bacterial wilt that has destroyed the Banana industry in Uganda. He stated that if the farmers plant genetically modified banana trees, the bacteria responsible would not affect those bananas. This source is relevant as it shows how GMOs can promote economic growth in developing nations.

O'Brian, Mark R. "Don’t Fear GMOs: Genetically Modified Food Is Just the Latest Chapter in 10,000 Years of High-tech Agriculture." www.buffalonews.com. The Buffalo News, 06 Apr. 2014. Web. 01 Feb. 2015.

Mark O’Brian states that GMOs are safe because we have always consumed GMOs. Following this logic, O’Brian constructs the argument that by selective consumption and harvesting, we have only eaten the breeds of plants that promoted our own survival. Also, he claims that cross pollination to produce desired traits has acted as an early method of genetic modification. Continuing, he draws the article to a close stating that we have always consumed GMOs so there is no reason to stop that practice now or to assume that GMOs are harmful. His article re-iterates the fact that GMOs are safe for human and animal consumption.

Ronald, Pamela. "The Truth About GMOs." www.bostonreview.net. Boston Review, 06 Sept. 2013. Web. 01 Feb. 2015.

Pamela Ronald is an ardent supporter of incorporating GMOs into our lives. She points out that GMOs reduce the amounts of applied pesticides. One such example is seen when observing genetically modified Bt cotton. This GMO does not require pesticides to fight off the boll weevil, a pest that destroys cotton plants. Another example is that GM Papaya plants in China and Hawaii saved the entire papaya industry from collapse. The GM Papaya plants were made to be resistant to a disease that essentially rotted the fruit. She also addresses the fact that the resistance to GMOs is political rather than scientific. Legislatures put bans and constraints on GMOs to appease their voter population; they do not ban GMOs for actual scientific reasons. This article supports my point that GMOs are seen as bad only because of opinions instead of scientific facts.

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