Humans have been manipulating their own environment and that of other species closely related to them for thousands of years. These changes have given rise to domesticated and human-dependent animal species, such as cows and sheep, as well as the many varieties of dogs and cats. In the same manner, most agricultural food crops are very different from their “wild” ancestors because of human intervention. Intervention in the domestication of food crops has given rise to higher-yield, less toxic and more nutritious varieties, as well as giving corn kernels a preferred yellow color, orange carrots and multiple citrus fruit crosses with a variety of tastes.
In many ways, modern biotechnology is just a continuation of a process that started over 4,000 years ago with the first attempts to domesticate and adapt crop plants, and it is a natural extension of the plant breeder’s toolkit. Novel plant varieties developed by biotechnology are in the vast majority of characteristics identical to already domesticated varieties and are extensively tested to ensure nontoxicity, non-allergenicity and lack of environmental effect. In fact, GMO plants and food derived from them are among the most extensively tested products ever. When a GMO plant is approved as safe by the regulatory authority in a any given country, it means that reputable scientists have examined the data, and that there is no reason that the product should be treated differently from any other approved and registered crop variety.