Larry asks,” I see ‘GMO or non-GMO’ marked on food and even seeds. What in the heck is GMO?
GMO is an abbreviation for Genetically Modified Organisms. There has been much controversy regarding genetically modified plants. From the beginning of mankind people have been genetically altering plants and animals by selecting the strongest and larger plants/animals and crossbreeding them to make larger ears of corn or cows that gave more milk.
In the last few years scientists have been able to change the DNA of plants by splicing in extra or removing genes. Nearly all the corn grown today has been genetically modified to be more pest and disease resistant needing fewer pesticides and herbicides, need less water, and produce larger yields. This has produced more food with a longer shelf life, and at a lower cost for a hungry world. Beets, rice, and cotton are examples of other plants that have been modified genetically. The Scientist are working on creating foods that can provide additional nutrients, vaccines, and extend human life by altering the plants DNA.
Most scientist feel GMO foods are safe and cause no harm to people or the environment. Some feel GMO foods may cause cancer, allergies, and perhaps are toxic to butterflies, bees, and other wildlife. Regardless of the fears and uncertainty of GMO foods, this field of science will continue and involve the attempt to produce better animals and healthier humans.
Image by Arturs Budkevics