Discussion 6

Genetically Modified Foods

Scientists have developed the technology to genetically modify plants. They can, for example, make them more nutritious, more resistant to pests, or more apt to survive harsh weather.

There is no doubt that these modifications can be a benefit. They can result in millions of children not going blind or dying from Vitamin A deficiency. They can result in higher yields because plants can resist pesticides. They can result in reduced tillage and herbicide use and even less need for irrigation.

Yet fears about GMOs (genetically modified organisms) remain. Some are worried about potential negative health and environmental impacts. Some are worried about impacts on farmers because many of the GMO seeds are patented and in some cases must be “re-bought” each year. And some are more concerned with the philosophy of altering “natural” plants, thinking there may be some unanticipated harmful future effects.

It is clear that the scientific community is largely supportive of use of GMO products. But this support has not led to universal public and political acceptance of their use.

What do you think? Should we approve of increased use of genetically modified crops to increase food availability and nutrition? Or should we resist the attempt to introduce more GMOs in the food supply?

As always, I encourage you to research this question before responding. I’m including a couple of links here to help you get started. I’m being totally slanted in what I’m linking to. That’s not because I am trying to influence you, and it’s not because I’m trying to support “my side,” which I am not revealing to you. It’s just because when you go online, you see thousands of links for one side (anti-GMO) and relatively very few for the other side (pro-GMO). So I’m trying to balance just a bit.

You understand, I’m sure, that seeing a lot more sources in a Google search on a topic is not in any way an indicator of the “truth.” Facts, rather than counting the number of advocates, are what we use to make the best decisions.

Remember you need to make your “Initial Post” of at least 250 words and you need to complete at least two responses (the “Final Posts”) of at least 200 words each to classmates by the dates shown in the course schedule. 

Remember there is one date for your Initial Post and a later date for your Final Posts.

Unhealthy Fixation: Unhealthy Fixation.docx

Most scientists think GMOs are safe: Scientists overwhelmingly think GMOs are safe to eat.docx  
How I Got Converted to GMO Food: How I Got Converted to G.M.O. Food.docx  
Sense About Science – GMOs: Sense About Science – GM Foods.pdf

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