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what are some pros of GMOs

Submitted by: lorix12


Expert response from Community Manager

Moderator for

Thursday, 26/05/2016 16:45

GMOs in agriculture have made positive environmental and socio-economic contributions around the world. There are many “pros” of GMOs for farmers, the environment and consumers. Here are some GMO traits and examples of how they help farmers, consumers, the environment and economy:


  • Insect resistance. This trait provides farmers with season-long protection against target pests, reduces the need for pesticide applications, and lowers input costs.
  • Drought resistance. GM crops that express drought resistance can grow in much drier areas, conserving water and other environmental resources.
  • Herbicide tolerance. Crops that can tolerate specific herbicides allow farmers to fight weeds by applying herbicides only when needed and enable them to use no-till production methods that preserve topsoil, prevent erosion, and reduce carbon emissions.
  • Disease resistance. Through genetic modification, the Hawaiian papaya industry was able to recover from the devastating papaya ringspot virus that had crippled the industry.
  • Increased/enhanced nutritional content. Currently in development are genetically modified soybeans with an enhanced oil profile, much like olive oil, made to be longer lasting and trans-fat free. 


Julie Howard, Former Chief Scientist, U.S. Agency for International Development Bureau for Food Security (USAID), also helps answer your question here. Below are some excerpts from her response on the global benefits of GMO crops:


  • GMOs help reduce of pesticide use. “GM commodities incorporating pest resistance can and have significantly reduced pesticide use and resulting pesticide residues. This is especially important in low-income countries, where farmers frequently lack access to safe pesticides―and may not be properly trained in pesticide use, or in postharvest processing to reduce residues. Foods with reduced pesticide residues (either synthetic pesticides used in conventional agriculture or biologically derived pesticides used in organic agriculture) are healthier for all people, particularly for women and children, who are very sensitive to their impacts.”
  • GMO biotechnology can increase nutritional qualities. “GE technologies are also increasingly being used to improve specific nutritional qualities of food. For example, genetic engineering has been used to develop soybean varieties with healthier fatty-acid profiles. Some contain more oleic acid―a monounsaturated fatty acid found in most oils but mostly associated with olive oil―and fewer saturated fatty acids than traditional soybeans. Another GE soybean has an increased level of omega-3 fatty acids, associated with heart health. The result of these types of GMOs is healthier cooking oils than are currently on the market. In the developing-country context, vitamin A deficiency is a leading cause of blindness, particularly prevalent among children. To combat this deficiency, one approach has been to use GE to enrich staple crops with beta-carotene (pro-vitamin A). Golden rice is one example of how genetic engineering has made it possible to significantly increase the amount of beta-carotene in rice. A typical serving of the golden rice variety could provide half the required daily intake of pro-vitamin A for a one- to three-year-old child. Researchers are using both conventional and GE techniques to introduce enhanced levels of other nutrients (e.g., iron, zinc, lysine) to develop “biofortified” varieties of sorghum and cassava, both of which are important staple crops in Africa.”


Check out this resource which explains these pros in more detail.