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Genetically Modified Foods Pros and Cons

I am a big fan of genetically modified foods and I think this is just another perfect example of what is one of the greatest things that science has ever done, yet it is completely demonized as an evil by other groups. Genetically modified foods are foods that have their DNA changed to help them thrive better in harsher conditions. With this type of technology we can produce more food per acre of land and have crops that are resistant to things like drought, disease and insects.

I know the idea of playing with the DNA seems scary, but it really isn't that revolutionary of a concept. Selective breading has been a process that has been going on for a long time. Selective breeding is probably happening in your life now by the mate you choose the offspring you have. The DNA changes every generation and there is nothing wrong with that.

The real issue I have is with people waging a propaganda war spreading lies and slanders against genetically modified foods. Things about splicing the DNA of rice with the DNA of a fish seem to be common talking points. This sort of thing happens in a laboratory for scientific study only. The food that you get at the store is modified with other plants to make something better. Many of the people against this also have this view that business is malevolent by nature. I can't argue with people that think like that, but for the rest of you I'm going to show you genetically modified foods pros and cons that are real.

PRO: We Can Produce More Food Per Acre

This is the real pro of genetically modified foods. If a farmer simply changes their seeds to a GMO seed they'll produce 2, 3, 4 or even 5 times as much food on the same amount of land. This is huge and a very important thing. I don't know if you've realized, but there are a lot of people on this planet that don't have enough food to eat. We should be working hard to produce genetically modified foods, so we have more food for everyone.

But this is a tough battle to win when environmental groups lobby the governments of poor countries to deny the entry of GMO crops into their country, most of which comes free from the first world. They are able to convince the politicians in these countries that this food causes cancer, death, mutations, etc. All of that is a lie and no science to back it up. Why do they do this? Environmental groups are anti-science by nature because they view every human advance as a deficit to the environment. I have some more genetically modified foods pros and cons for you because this is a very big issue.

PRO: We Can Grow Food In The Harsh Climates

The reason why many people go hungry in Africa is due to the fact that the climate just isn't that great for farming. Not only do they not have the technology to properly produce regular crops, they're faced with the common problem of droughts. With genetically modified seeds they could produce food without all the technology and water they need. They would get much more food. More food means there is more production and that is more overall wealth.

We have seeds today that are so good at growing that if you plant a seed, the plant will actually produce more and more year after year without the farmer doing it. They'll grow another crop and still have the old crop grow. We're talking about powerful stuff here that could help us produce a ton of food. There are many genetically modified foods pros and cons, but you have to see that this is a big benefit and you should want to do this.

PRO: Less Pesticide Use

Pesticides are a very important part of making sure the crops that are planted will actually survive for the harvest. But when you have insects and other parasites in your region you have to use pesticides on specific crops. We all know that pesticides aren't good for people and those of you that live in close proximity to a farm are more likely to end up with cancer at an earlier age. This is something that can be easily solved with genetically modified foods. When you splice the DNA of corn with a plant that can defend itself from a specific parasite, you can plant corn and not have to worry about the parasite.

And the great thing about the modification process is that you can make different kinds of breeds that are designed for different regions and countries. This means that we can develop crops that will work in just about any place in the world and actively fight against specific parasites and disease that crops would normally be destroyed by. It is very important that people understand the genetically modified foods pros and cons because they're important. I never hear environmentalists talking about how we can eliminate the use of pesticides this way.

CON: Environmentalists Will Whine

The only con I could think of when it comes to genetically modified foods is that environmentalists will go nuts and go on propaganda campaigns. I'll have to listen to them blather out their anti-science agenda and over all anti-man agenda. Even though that is a pretty big con for me because it would absolutely drive me crazy, I think I can live with it. I can only hope the media would smarten up and not allow them to bring their propaganda and outright lies on television.

These are some of the genetically modified foods pros and cons, so I hope you're better educated on the subject. I'm going to make a post at a later date with more information on the subject because it is very important. Genetically modified foods are a good thing and we really need to stop the anti-science dogma from getting their way.

If you're someone that is sick of anti-science and other propaganda on issues, you should read my stem cell research pros and cons post. I decided to finally put the anti-science talk to rest. Marijuana legalization pros and cons might not be related to this post, but I know it's a topic that everyone seems to have position for.


Bob said…
"We can produce more food per acre" - FALSE - studies have shown this to be a false claim. See Union of Concerned Scientists publication "Failure to Yield".
"We can grow food in the harsh climates" - where does this claim come from? Plants "will actually produce more and more year after year without the farmer doing it." See above.
"Less pesticide use" - FALSE - studies have shown just the opposite. In fact, the emergence of pesticide resistant weeds in areas of the US require ever increasing amounts of pesticides.
You have also omitted the growing body of evidence that GMO foods are dangerous to human health. Organ damage, increased allergenicity, lowered nutrient value, non-GMO crop contamination, the predatory practices of GMO seed providers (particularly, but not only, Monsanto) and dramatically increased seed costs all provide compelling concerns that GM crops may not deliver the benefits that corporate marketing wants you to believe.
I don't want to fall prey to hype and unsubstantiated claims on either side of this issue. I don't think you do either.
Christopher said…
Hey Bob,

Normally, I would of rejected your comment since it is overly ignorant. But I thought I'd let it stand.

"Yield Effects of Genetically Modified Crops in Developing Countries" Matin Qaim, David Zilberman

Science 7 February 2003:
Vol. 299. no. 5608, pp. 900 - 902
DOI: 10.1126/science.1080609

Onfarm field trials carried out with Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) cotton in different states of India show that the technology substantially reduces pest damage and increases yields.
"Can GM-Technologies Help the Poor? The Impact of Bt Cotton in Makhathini Flats, KwaZulu-Natal"

Colin Thirtle and Lindie Beyers, Yousouf Ismael, Jenifer Piesse


The results of a two-year survey of smallholders in Makhathini Flats, KwaZulu-Natal show that farmers who adopted Bt cotton in 1999–2000 benefited according to all the measures used. Higher yields and lower chemical costs outweighed higher seed costs, giving higher gross margins.


I could really go on for a long time posting REAL scientific studies. Your other claims are just stupid. There is NO EVIDENCE of any damage to the human body. There is NO EVIDENCE that they have lowered nutritional value.

There are no predatory practices of GMO seed providers. It is considered intellectual property and is made in a lab, hence the increased cost.

Farmers don't have to buy it if they don't want to, but they do buy it because the cost of seeds are more than made up from increased output.

If GMO seeds are as bad as you claim they are, farmers wouldn't pay for their overly expensive crap when they could just use traditional methods.

I thought you should take a look at this study on GMO safety.

Andrew Cockburn

Genes change continuously by natural mutation and recombination enabling man to select and breed crops having the most desirable traits such as yield or flavour. Genetic modification (GM) is a recent development which allows specific genes to be identified, isolated, copied and inserted into other plants with a high level of specificity. The food safety considerations for GM crops are basically the same as those arising from conventionally bred crops, very few of which have been subject to any testing yet are generally regarded as being safe to eat. In contrast a rigorous safety testing paradigm has been developed for GM crops, which utilises a systematic, stepwise and holistic approach. The resultant science based process, focuses on a classical evaluation of the toxic potential of the introduced novel trait and the wholesomeness of the transformed crop. In addition, detailed consideration is given to the history and safe use of the parent crop as well as that of the gene donor. The overall safety evaluation is conducted under the concept known as substantial equivalence which is enshrined in all international crop biotechnology guidelines. This provides the framework for a comparative approach to identify the similarities and differences between the GM product and its comparator which has a known history of safe use. By building a detailed profile on each step in the transformation process, from parent to new crop, and by thoroughly evaluating the significance from a safety perspective, of any differences that may be detected, a very comprehensive matrix of information is constructed which enables the conclusion as to whether the GM crop, derived food or feed is as safe as its traditional counterpart. Using this approach in the evaluation of more than 50 GM crops which have been approved worldwide, the conclusion has been that foods and feeds derived from genetically modified crops are as safe and nutritious as those derived from traditional crops.
Lunatic Fridge said…
I am also pro GMO's. Science will always be vilified. The pros out weigh the cons on many levels. Humans have been genetically modifying plants and animals since the beginning of agriculture. We are just speeding up the process with science. People just need to face the reality that genetically modified foods has and will happen no matter how much they don't like it. Science and necessity will prevail.
Will said…
It seems to me that the problem here is caused by the convergence of two phenomena:

1. Many people fear what they do not understand.

2. Many people are either disinterested in science or intellectually incapable of understanding it. This is exacerbated by falling educational standards and by the broad acceptance of relativistic thinking in current Western culture. Science does not allow for "any viewpoint to be as correct as any other viewpoint."

As long as people do not understand science and fear what they do not understand, progress will be inhibited. Unfortunately, our current culture and environment make it far too easy for people to remain ignorant.
Anonymous said…
There is currently enough food being produced to feed everyone in the world three square meals a day; the reason that people don’t have food to eat is because they have no means of producing it themselves (lack of education, etc). The real issue is transporting the food to starving people; why can’t we spend the money to transport the food we already have and to educate the people who "go hungry in Africa"?

I'm sure that the environmentalists would be fine with it...
Anonymous said…
Also want to say that this article was very helpful for my project.
Anonymous said…
Good stuff my man, that is some good words/work, keep the dream alive!!!
Christopher said…
Anonymous on April 5th

The reason that we don't just send the aid to teach people who to be better farms and send the equipment is that it isn't always enough. The best farmers still struggle and it's often multiplied when you consider the environment in Africa. It's hard to grow crops in an environment that has droughts 6 months a year. It doesn't matter if you have a tractor and a watering system. When you have very little water to use, you need something better.

With genetically modified foods, we can make plants that have the capability of surviving in the harsh droughts. Why the hell shouldn't we send GMO seeds to Africa?
Anonymous said…
Hi Christopher,

I have just finished watching the film 'Food Inc.' and did some websurfing to find out more information about the pros and cons of GMO foods.
I read your article and then the comments. I found that the information you provided in your response to the commentor Bob, was much more helpful and specific than what you wrote in the article itself. I'd be nice to see more articles that contained actual facts and excerpts from scientific journals to support arugements either for or against GMO foods. It's writing like that, that will help arm consumers with the knowledge to make truly informed decisions. I hope in the future, you incorporate taht kind of stuff into the body of your article, and not just in the comments afterwards. Otherwise, I see no difference between the contentious, unfounded arumentation on both sides of the fence.
Anonymous said…
Thanks so much! I was having trouble coming up with pros for my school project, and you made it easy to write my essay, thanks for the help!
Anonymous said…
You are a vvery inteligent, yet beaurocratic man. I respect your inteligence. Thank you for helping me with my school debate! I shall make this world a better place for mankind. Btw SCREW THE HIPPIES! TECHNOLOGY WINS!
Anonymous said…
Great stuff. Honestly! thank you so much. It was a pleasure to read.
Anonymous said…
I'm generally for GMOs. However, I've been researching for a school project and I've found some pretty convincing anti-GMO arguments. I don't think the technology is inherently evil. However, I do think it's not being used effectively and as beneficially as you make it sound.

1) There is already enough food in the world its just not transported effectively
2) Farming on arid lands, even with genetically modified crops, can lead to desertification due to transplanting non-native species and extensive irrigation to get them to grow. I'd like to think GMOs would help this, but I haven't seen anything to suggest technology has gotten that far.
3) There are many scientific studies (some bad science, some not) that show that GMOs aren't producing 'more food per acre' like promised and are increasing pesticide use in some cases.

However, I'm willing to overlook all of the cons I just mentioned, the main thing that bugs me is the corporations. 4) Monsanto is a big greedy corporation, which shouldn't be too surprising, but its putting a bad name on GMOs. Lets say Monsanto advertises that its seeds will produce 5x more than regular seeds and price accordingly. Even if its seeds produce 3x more (and that's great scientific advancement), the poor farmer in India is left in debt. Suicides for cotton farmers in India has gone up substantially in the last couple of years. I'm worried that the large corporations who are given legal power over their seeds are hurting the poor farmer GMOs are supposed to help.

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