QWhy is there such a strong opposition to genetic modification when theres been NUMEROUS studies proving that there is nothing wrong with them? Is this just a phase?

Why is there such a strong opposition to genetic modification when theres been NUMEROUS studies proving that there is nothing wrong with them? Is this just a phase?

AExpert Answer

 

This is a great question. You might be interested in the book chapter, “Why GMO Myths Are So Appealing and Powerful,” by Cami Ryan, research associate at the College of Agriculture and Bioresources at the University of Saskatchewan. The book chapter can be accessed online here: https://www.smashwords.com/extreader/read/380524/71/the-lowdown-on-gmos-according-to-science. An excerpt is below:

 

“Recently, an executive with a biotech trade group asserted in an interview that it wasn’t too late to win the hearts and minds of consumers suspicious of genetically modified foods (131). Biotech advocates just need to do a better job of explaining the technology and its benefits. The headline for the piece read:

 

“‘It’s not too late to change the conversation on GMOs.’

“While I admire this optimism and agree that we should continue to engage in conversations about GMOs, there are certain present-day realities that constrain our efforts to find common ground on this very controversial topic.


“At the top of this list is the sheer amount of information we are inundated with every day. Many of us are tapped into mobile technology. We are referred to as ‘just in time’ users (Rainie and Fox 2012). We account for 62% of the entire adult population who often look to online sources and online social networks for information. Anti-GMO interest groups have successfully leveraged these networks to disseminate misinformation and influence public opinion. Using carefully crafted words (frankenfoods!) (132) and images (syringes in tomatoes) (133), they create myths—GM corn causes cancer, (134) fish genes have been forced into tomatoes (135) or GM corn kills the larvae of monarch butterflies (136)—that tap into people’s fears about genetic engineering…”

 

This chapter is part of the book The Lowdown on GMOs: According to Science, available online in its entirety here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/380524. If you have any additional questions, please ask.

 

Posted on January 31, 2018
Thank you for your question. There are various aspects of your question. I assume your question refers to the use of Agrobacterium rhizogenes by scientists to intentionally transfer genes from the bacterium to plants. Infection and DNA transfer from this bacterium occurs in nature all the time to cause disease. Such transformed plants are not classified as GMOs since transfer occurred naturally. If this is done by scientists then it would be classified as a GMO. Rules and... Read More
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Posted on March 1, 2018
I’m a Monsanto scientist who has more than 20 years of experience with genetic modification of plants. I will try to answer your question, even though I don’t ever do experiments on animals, certainly not on humans, of course! Can humans be genetically modified…but a much bigger question is should humans be genetically modified? There are two ways to think about genetic modification of humans (or any animal). One way is modification of somatic cells, and the other is the... Read More
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Posted on May 10, 2017
The simple answer is that 20+ years of composition assessments of GMO crops have demonstrated that crop composition is not appreciably affected by the GM process (1). In addition, data collected through that time have indicated that general factors such as the growth environment can contribute to notable variation in component levels (2). Plant agglutinins (or lectins) and amylase inhibitors are examples of anti-nutritional compounds that may be present in crops. The relevance of such a... Read More

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