GMOS: Different Schools of Thought
Highly Beneficial: Increased Yield and Hardiness
Supporters of GMOs argue that the genetic modification of foods allows for increased food production and more resilient and nutritious crops. They believe GMOs offer a valuable tool for responding to the serious problem of malnutrition facing many people around the world.
Anemia, for example, affects 56 percent of pregnant women worldwide (and 76 percent of pregnant women in South and Southeast Asia). Anemic women face higher infant mortality rates, and their babies have lower birth rates and are more likely to be born prematurely. According to a World Bank report, deficiencies of just vitamin A, iodine, and iron can result in total economic losses as high as 5 percent of gross domestic product
Food can now be fortified with iron through genetic modification, which may help contain a global health crisis. Scientists have also figured out ways to introduce vitamin A into rice, creating a new strain of “golden rice” that could help prevent blindness in millions of poor children.
Advocates of genetically modified (GM) foods also argue that, contrary to popular belief, GM foods cause less environmental damage than their unmodified counterparts. This is because foods can be engineered to be pest-resistant, decreasing the amounts of toxic chemical pesticides that need to be applied to plants and crops. In addition, GM advocates say, the components of a genetically modified plant that drive insects away are not harmful to human consumers.
Finally, while advocates acknowledge that GM foods have not been in production for a long time, they stress that no adverse health risks have yet been traced to GM foods. According to industry experts, GM foods are as healthy, if not healthier, than their unmodified counterparts.
Furthermore, while GMO proponents also recognize that unintended, harmful mutations are possible when cultivating GM foods, they argue that there is no logical reason to assume in advance that any mutation would cause sufficient harm to outweigh the benefits of pursuing the production of GM foods. Regulation of the development and production of GM foods is sufficient precaution against unintended harm.