Genetically Modified Organisms

1.  I chose Genetically Modified Organisms

2.  Genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, are organisms whose DNA has been altered to include an additional gene, or genes, from another organism to give that altered organism a desired characteristic (Genetically Modified Organisms).  The term GMO is usually applicable to crops or plants which have been artificially modified with the use of genetic engineering, and which is part of the larger topic of biotechnology.  For those not in favor of GMOs they are usually referred to as Mutated Organisms.

3.  A GMO is an example of biotechnology because biotechnology is defined as the art of utilizing living organisms and their products for the production of food, drink, medicine or for other benefits to the human race, or other animal species (Philips, 2010).  A GMO is one sub-field of Biotechnology, and is the term used for organisms which are altered through recombinant techniques (Seetharaman, 2003) or the process where the good genes are chosen to produce a crop that has more of the desired traits.

4.   Some positive benefits of GMOs are a) Resilience of crops against pesticides, herbicides and disease b) Tolerance of plants against extreme temperatures, drought or high-salinity of the soil c) Can possibly address the problem of malnutrition d) Positive prospects for medicines and vaccines e) Phytoremediation -- or the use of Poplar trees to counter groundwater pollution -- may address environmental issues (Whitman, 2000).

5.  Yes, there are negative impacts in the use of GMOs.  They are  a) Unintended harm to other organisms b) Possible reduced effects of Pesticides c) Possible gene transfer to non-target species d) Possible rise of new allergens which may be life-threatening e) Unknown effects to man f) New breed of GMO seeds may have a higher price compared to previous.

There should be cause for concern primarily because not enough tests have been done on the effects of GMO products on humans.  At this time, we can say that this is safe because we have not seen sufficient harmful effects.  However, in the long term, that would be the time where the ill-effects will come out, and by then, it might already be too late.  No doubt, there have been positive effects on the economy as the quality of crops are getting better.  However, since there has been unintended harm done on some organisms, nobody knows for sure what harm it will do on the human body and to the environment in the long run.     


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