Genetically modified organisms have been a hot topic of debate among environmentalists, scientists, and policy makers. There are enormous benefits that can come from genetically modified crops and animals, however there are also serious concerns about the consequences on the environment and human health.

Some of the benefits of genetically modified crops are that genes can be inserted that cause the plant to be resistant to many harmful things such as weeds, insects, and disease. This would allow for less herbicides to be used on the crops and more crops to survive and produce food. Crops can also be modified to have a longer shelf life in stores, grow in dryer/colder climates, be resistant to pests, and even to have increased nutritional value.

The concerns regarding genetic modification deal with the possible unknown effects on human health and the environment. Some new allergies have emerged due to the consumption of genetically modified foods. A study in 1998 cited that a soybean allergy was developed in people who ingested transgenic soybeans that were produced to be animal feed. Additionally, there are other issues related to possible harmful side effects on other organisms that live with or depend on the organism that is genetically modified. One example of this is Bt corn. While the modification is helpful in making the corn toxic to caterpillars, the pollen from these modified plants might also be fatal to the monarch butterflies. There are many issues to think about when discussing the viability of genetically modified organisms. Look through the links below to read more about the pro’s and con’s of genetic modification and decide for yourself.

Websites discussing the pro’s and con’s of genetically modified foods:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/harvest/
http://www.agriculture.purdue.edu/agbiotech/