GMOs in the News

A genetically modified organism, otherwise known as a GMO, is an organism that has had their genetic material modified by genetic engineering. The genes from various sources are combined to create a new gene and these genes are then transferred into an organism.

The American-based Digital Journal website recently published an article on the “rootworm resistant” corn losing its resistance. This genetically modified corn, produced by the Monsanto Company, is said to be toxic to plant-damaging pests, such as the rootworm, thus reducing the use of insecticide on soil. However, scientists have reported that these corns are losing their effectiveness and may be making the corn more susceptible to the pests. In response, Monsanto has proposed farmers to rotate their crops with one of their other biotech products, like soybeans, or use a different genetically modified corn together with insecticide. To which scientists have¬†rebutted¬†by stating that continuing a failing technology will only increase the potential of resistance and that due to Monsanto taking over the “seed” business there are less options on the market for those opting for non-GMO. The scientists also state that using insecticide on genetically modified corn only increases production costs and would only increase the risk of resistance. They also argue that the use of insecticide on genetically modified corn demonstrates that the genetically modified corn is no longer effective.

On March 21st, the North Shore News website reported that Greenpeace has officially ended its campaign against China’s proposal of commercializing GMO rice. Greenpeace was concerned that genetically modified rice would disrupt China’s traditional farming techniques for farming rice. Although the victory was in part due to pressure within the country, China has suspended its GMO project. The article reports that GMO food is monitored by government agencies (Health Canada for our country) for toxicity, potential of provoke allergic reactions, nutritional effects, and other factors. According to Greenpeace up to 70% of processed foods found in our grocery store are genetically engineered.

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