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Hello, I am Jonah Lu and I am a student in Mrs.Gambles enriched 5th grade class in the class we are doing genius hour which is where we research something we are interested in and we have to ask a expert my research question is how are Gmos affecting us I am hoping to gain knowledge or tell me an additional expert contact so that can help me thank you for helping me be more successful

Submitted by: jonahl23324


Answer

Expert response from Christopher Barbey

PhD Student, Plant Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology

Thursday, 05/19/2016 17:27

Hello Jonah!

 

Your question is a good one. Everyone should have an understanding of what genetically modified organisms are all about and how they are impacting us.

 

Firstly, it’s important to know that genetic modification is just a technique for adding or subtracting a specific gene. This is different from traditional methods, which randomly affect tens of thousands of genes at a time. There’s a big list of organisms we can modify, and a growing list of useful genes. So GMOs are actually many different things, including bacteria that produce medicine and crops which can fight off pests by themselves. As there are many different GMOs, there are many different specific answers [1]. But I will give you a general answer for GMO agriculture as a whole.

 

The major net impact of all GMO crops has been increased farming productivity at reduced cost [2]. To you, this means your family pays less for food. To your body, there’s no difference between GMO or non-GMO food: it tastes the same, has the same amount of nutrients and everything is broken down in your stomach the same way [1, 3]. Someday in the near future, we will have genes that can increase flavor and improve health (this is actually what I’m working on!). There are other advantages for the farmer and the environment as well, as GMOs reduce pesticide and herbicide use and increase farmer profits [2].

 

GMOs have had a complicated impact on our culture, and there are many people who are afraid that they are physically harmful. Based on decades of experimentation and observation, research scientists and health agencies broadly agree that current GMO crops have no special effect on health one way or the other[4,5]. It’s just food.

 

  1. http://www.nap.edu/read/21746/chapter/1
  2. http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0111629
  3. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdf/10.1021/jf302436u
  4. http://ec.europa.eu/research/biosociety/pdf/a_decade_of_eu-funded_gmo_research.pdf 5. http://www.who.int/foodsafety/areas_work/food-technology/faq-genetically-modified-food/en/

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