What Are the Pros and Cons of Genetically Modified Organisms?


Quick Answer

The pros and cons of genetically modified food include the hazards of pesticides in food; the productivity, hardiness and nutritive value of crops; the risk of cross pollination; and the potential effect of increasing or decreasing allergens in food. Other pros and cons include the unpredictability of a new science, the effects GMOs have on soil, the logistics of having patents held on food crops, the potential for increased shelf life, and the production of seedless and more flavorful food.

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Full Answer

While pesticides on crops potentiate the evolution of pesticide-resistant pests, GMO crops with pesticides grown into them seem to reduce that outcome. A common counterpoint includes the concern that not enough research has proven this safe for consumers.

Some pros include growing allergen-free foods or foods with added nutrition. However, these ventures have so far not yet produced significant results. The same applies for growing food with medicines, and a con for when that time comes is the potential for accidental ingestion. A frequently listed concern is allergens being placed into foods in which there were previously none, but safety measures are in place to prevent this from happening.

One con is that since GMOs are typically patented, it may limit the economic feasibility of using them in areas experiencing food shortages. One way to avoid this problem would be to produce GMOs locally from regional varieties of food.

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