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Pros and cons of GMO crop farming [infographic]

In the agricultural industry, recombinant DNA technology allows for DNA to be transferred from one organism to another, creating Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). Four crops constitute the vast majority of the GM crop production: maize, canola, soybean, and cotton. Since 1995, GM crops have been grown commercially and the global area sown to these crops has expanded over 100-fold over the past two decades.  While many champion this innovation for its ability to enhance food production across the world, others are raising concerns about the possible impacts on human and environmental health.

Using the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Environmental Science, we’ll explore both sides of the argument.

Featured Image: “Countryside Harvest Agriculture Farm Nature Field” by TheDigitalArtist. CC0 via Pixabay

Recent Comments

  1. George

    Technically the first con – “accelerated evolution of resistant pest populations” is due to having large monocultures, which is a farming practice and not a trait of being a GMO crop.

  2. Mary Mangan

    I hope your project will work hard to distinguish which of the “cons” you list are unique to GMOs. Because right now, not one of them is. All of those same claims could be made about conventially bred crops–including “organic”.

  3. Pepper Jones

    Hello.

    It is still unclear to me why there is a controversy around the ethical and health factors related to GMO production. I can see the practical and beneficial side of this, but I would like to know what are the side effects, and why is there a resistance by some social groups to GMOs.

    It would be great if you can elaborate on this.

    Thanks!

  4. Lourdes S. Sánchez Cabral

    I would like to remark to Pepper the controversy regarding GMO in the health sectors are the misinformation of experimental results that claimed that certain GMO´s caused tumors, in a famous case where genetically modified maize caused serious disease in rats, the paper, from a research group led by Gilles-Eric Séralini, a molecular biologist at the University of Caen, France, showed “no evidence of fraud or intentional misrepresentation of the data,” said a statement from Elsevier, which publishes the journal. The small number and type of animals used in the study mean that “no definitive conclusions can be reached.” and the article was retracted.
    As for the allergen problematic, many anti GMO are tested and strictly regulated before they hit the market, they are guidelines stipulating that GMO plants should be physically segregated from the closely crops for control of a possible crossing and that is how they control if an allergen is detected .
    It is true as George and Mary Mangan said that monocultures are a problem regarding not only GMO´s it is easy to seek another alternatives as agroecology (diversity of wild type crops for better yields) as an alternative of transgenics, but we shouldn´t reject them as a whole.

  5. Pepper Jones

    Yes, i see your point but what about the whole Designer babies? Right now we are modifying plants, so what is the border line about having genetically modified humans? Are we motivating scientists to play like god?

  6. Lourdes Sanchez

    Pepper, right now scientists are only allowed to genetically edit human embryos for 14 days for research purposes, after which they must be destroyed, and it is illegal to implant them into a womb. There is the conception of seeing GMO´s as altering a *god* creation, but focusing on helping treat chronic/genetic deseases is the main goal. Currently we have international bioethical committees with competent people informed with all the implication to treat this issues fairly.

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