The Controversy on Genetically Modified Corn

What Are GMOs?

History of Genetically Modified Corn

Advantages of Genetically Modified Corn

Pros

  • Nutrition: provides additional nutritional benefits as the corn can be infused with different vitamins and minerals to help certain populations around the world that may have vitamin or mineral deficiencies.
  • Growth: studies have shown that GM corn produces a greater yield of corn; over 25 percent increased yield compared to non-GM corn.
  • Pest Resistance: the Bt gene (taken from bacteria known as Bacillus thuringiensis) produces a protein only toxic to certain pests and insects, and it is often genetically engineered into the corn.
  • Herbicide Tolerance: it is genetically engineered to withstand being sprayed by multiple herbicides such as glyphosate-based herbicides.
  • Drought Resistance: the corn can be modified with genes that help survive stressful conditions such as droughts.
  • Less Preservatives: GM corn can last longer without the need for chemicals (preservatives) to be added in order to increase its shelf life.
  • Ease of Farming: lowers the cost for farmers (and consumers) because there is a greater yield and increased growth through harsher conditions.

Disadvantages of Genetically Modified Corn

Cons

  • Allergens: genetically modified corn may trigger allergic reactions for people because it contains foreign genes from another organism.
  • Cancers: there is currently no research that links GMO food to cancer, however some people are still concerned that it may increase the progression of cancer from the DNA mutations in the corn.
  • Long-term Health: there is currently no data on the long-term effects of GM corn on human health.
  • Changing the Landscape of Croplands: cross-pollination of GM corn can affect other croplands nearby and interfere with their development of non-GMO corn.
  • Affecting Other Species: there’s a risk that the added/modified genes could affect animals or plants aside from just the ones that the scientists meant to target.
  • Environmental Concerns: there are other environmental concerns, such as the fact that GM corn is resistant to herbicides, which could lead to the development of new weeds that are also resistant to herbicides.
  • Not Labeled: in the U.S. and Canada, it is not mandatory to label genetically modified food so consumers may be unaware that they are purchasing genetically modified corn or other GMOs.

Conclusion

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