Such is often the case when I start talking about GMOs. Occasionally someone will ask me what is a GMO? In fact, my mom admitted not long ago that she didn't really know anything about them and wanted to know more.
So, this post is for those who have wondered but not asked. Just a quick and very basic overview. No opinions, just facts (although the facts are what determine our opinions, right?). There is so much more information than this, but this is an introduction. Do a little research on Google and you'll find plenty more if you find yourself interested.
- GMO is an abbreviation for genetically modified organism, an organism being defined by www.dictionary.com as "a form of life composed of mutually interdependent parts that maintain various vital processes."
- A GMO is created when scientists in laboratories alter the genes of an organism to create what they determine to be a "better" version of the original, i.e. more drought resistant or resistant to common herbicides.
- GMO seeds are marketed to farmers as a way to produce a more bountiful crop using fewer natural resources.
- Monsanto is the leader in producing GMO seeds and was the first company to ever successfully alter the genes of a plant.
- Farmers who use GMO seeds are not allowed to keep seed from their crops because Monsanto, the company that produces these seeds, claim to own the sole rights to the seeds (and this has been upheld in United States courts).
- If GMO crops pollinate neighboring farmers' crops, Monsanto claims the rights to all seed on those farms also. Thus, Monsanto currently controls about half the world's seeds for agriculture.
- When GMOs are sold as food, there is no legislation to require that the food be labeled as such, although about twenty states have attempted or are presently attempting to obtain a labeling requirement.
- While there is a lack of definitive research, some studies have indicated that animals that eat GMOs are negatively affected and some claim that GMOs are a carcinogen.
- Monsanto scientists claim that GMOs are completely safe according to their privately conducted studies.
- About thirty countries have restricted or banned GMOs because they have not been proven safe.
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