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GMO's. Genetically Modified Organisms. What are Genetically Modified Organisms?. GMO's are organisms which have had their genetic make up altered such that they are beneficial to society. But even if they were made for the good of society, even unforeseen negative side effects can occur.

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Genetically Modified Organisms

What are Genetically Modified Organisms?

GMO's are organisms which have had their genetic make up altered such that they are beneficial to society. But even if they were made for the good of society, even unforeseen negative side effects can occur.

GMO's are created through splitting the gene(s) of one organism using restriction

enzymes, and then have those gene(s) placed in the genetic sequence

of the target organism. Some times the gene that was removed is the only

modification made.

Genetically Modified Plants
  • Most GMO's are plant life
  • By altering the genetic makeup of many farmer's crops, it is possible to create disease, herbicide, pest, and temperature resistant crops
  • Because the plants are more resistant, a greater yield of crops can be expected, meaning more food for people around the world
  • Along with genetic resistance, foods can also be genetically modified to produce more nutrients
  • Experiments are being done currently in attempt to produce edible vaccines for bacterial diseases as well for auto immune diseases

Genetically Modified Animals
  • There are much less Genetically modified animals then there are plants
  • Humans started Genetically Modifying animals ever since agriculture started
  • The most common GM animals are pigs, because if they contain some human genes it is easier for xenotransplantation to occur
  • Animals are genetically modified to give them disease resistant genes, and much like plants, allow for a larger yield of products

Why GM Plants Can Be Bad:

By genetically modifying plants, Humans are creating 'gene flow'. This is the movement of genes between species which can create a problem for the environment.

For example, in Mexico no GMO's are allowed in to the country. Somehow though, genetically modified corn is now present, much like the GM corn in the southern states.

By making plants too genetically diverse, we can create problems in the environment and in society. Super weeds are plants which could be created. These super weeds would eat up all the resources of plants we want, and be resistant to even our most powerful herbicides Super bugs can also be a problem because in much the same fashion as super weeds, super bugs can be resistant to pesticides.

The negative effects of GM plants on society can include a greater chance of allergens in food and the capitalist way of turning GM plants into a way of making money.

Why GM Animals Can Be Bad:

Although Humans have been directing the genetics of animals for over two thousand years, it is only recently that Scientists have determined the negative side affects of this.

As an example, most current day dog species were all bred for specific traits (I.e. A great Dane's height, a Hound's nose, ect). Unfortunately, this has led to less bio-diversity, much like GM plants. The lack of bio-diversity causes species to inherit specific traits, and although some are positive, many are negative. For example, many labradour dogs have problems with their hip joints

The largest problem that society has with GM animals is from an ethical standpoint; at what point does tampering with an animal's genetics are we infringing on an animal's rights, can one ‘own life’, and are we playing the overbearing job of 'God'?

There have been many protests by groups on the subject, one which happened on Halloween of 1999, where protesters in New York and Washington protested against the bio engineering of animals, wearing costumes depicting half human, half pig creatures.

An opinionated look to the future...

With the lack of actual negative proof that GMO's have a large negative effect on the environment, it can be said for certain that the use of and experimentation on GMO's will continue for some time.

Considering the state of the world, in such a time of economic problems, it would be most ideal to continue the use of GM foods, so that more people can eat, and gain the nutrients needed to survive.

GMO's will soon be the staple of society, and without them, we will surely die of a lack of food and resources. At the rate that Humans consume the resources of the world, only Humans will be able to supply for Humans.


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Minnesota: Weigle Educational.

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Benefits and Concerns. Berkeley Heights: Enslow.

Langridge, H.R., W. (2000, September.) Edible Vaccines.

Scientific American, 66-71.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory. (2008). What Are

Genetically Modified (GM) Foods?. Retrieved December 7,

2008, from:


Yount, L. (2004). Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering.

New York: Facts on File.