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Pros and cons

Eliminating famine or throwing nature off balance?

GMOs – yes or no?

Due to the influence of multinational enterprises and the pharmaceutical industry, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have become an important element of the production of animal feed and human food all over the world. It should be noted though that the effects of consuming food produced with or through the use of GMOs have not yet been thoroughly researched. As usual, the GMO story has its advocates and ever louder opponents.

The pros:

  • For some genetically modified plant cultures which have become resistant to specific insects, parasites and harmful weeds the use of some insecticides and pesticides is no longer required. Reduced use of these chemical substances helps lower environmental pollution while at the same time saving basic commodities such as the time and the energy needed for production.
  • In the future it is projected that genetically modified plant cultures will yield crops with the desired nutritional, energy and functional composition so as to reduce the extent of industrial processing and the use of certain additives and polymers.
  • Genetically modified food (such as tomatoes) can have properties that are more suitable for warehousing and transportation.
  • Due to the altered composition of nutrients a handful of rice could feed an adult, thereby reducing the extent of famine in the world.

The cons:

  • Unpredictable side effects of transposing genes from one organism to another (especially the possibility of allergic reactions due to the synthesis of new proteins the body cannot recognise).
  • Genetically engineered organisms are not viable in nature.
  • • Genetically engineered plants reproduce themselves and also fertilise ordinary plants, all of which threatens the seed trade and organic farming.
  • The processes are unmanageable as the pollen and seeds are blown by the wind for kilometres.
  • The loss of biodiversity (transfer of inserted genes to related species) and the loss of autochthonous plant species.
  • • After a number of years of using genetically modified seeds, resistant pests start developing (new species of genetically modified plants are constantly required) as well as new weeds (total herbicides no longer have any effect on individual types of weeds).
  • The harmful effects of GMOs on human beings have not yet been researched; the results of studies with animals show that GMOs negatively affect their fertility and mortality rates.

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