RR3: IS GMO PRODUCTION ETHICAL?

Hey everyone!

This is my third round of research for this cycle and this week I will be focusing on the ethical advantages to using GMOs. Last week, I researched some well-known points for and against the use of GMOs and will be relating some of those points in this round as well as bringing up some new ones. 

My inquiry question is: What role do ethics play in the production of GMOs?

Added nutrients in foods: One of the most beneficial aspects of being able to modify the genetics of organisms is that there is potential to add vitamins and nutrients into a food, enhancing its nutritional value. (1) For example, in Asia, where rice is a staple, there are an estimated quarter of a million people that go blind every year, one of the main factors being Vitamin A deficiency. Geneticists can modify rice so that it produces beta carotene, a source of Vitamin A. (2)(3) One bowl of the GMO rice provides 60% of a child's daily Vitamin A intake. This is but one example of how the utilization of GMOs could have extremely advantageous outcomes. 

Increased food production in developing countries:With many GM crops being drought-tolerant, insect-resistant, etc. it makes production of these crops easier, especially in developing countries where there is more poverty and famine. (1)(4) If we assume that GMOs are completely safe (which is plausible) and that the added nutrients could be of use, it makes a lot of sense to be focusing production of these foods in third-world countries. (4) And, even with side effects, it depends on our values: would it be morally correct to produce GM crops (that are potentially unsafe) and risk the consequences, but in the process, feeding developing countries and improving their situations?

Increased productivity overall:From 1996 to 2011, GM crops are estimated to have contributed to an additional global production of 195 million tons of maize, 110.2 million tons of soybeans, 15.85 million tons of cotton and 6.55 million tons of canola. GM crops have contributed to higher yields, e.g., 30 percent more in some farming areas. Local farmers are able to provide a lot of additional crops, which is benefical because over the next 40 years, the population will grow by an estimated 38% to 9.7 million. (5)(6)

That's all for this round! Next week, I'll be focusing on the negative side of GMOs. Please leave comments/feedback below!

1. https://www.macalester.edu/~montgomery/GMOs2.htm

2. https://www.scu.edu/http://nab...nd-benefits-of-gmos/

3. https://www.npr.org/sections/t...versy-over-gmo-foods

4. http://nabc.cals.cornell.edu/P.../13_5_5_COMSTOCK.pdf

5. https://gmoanswers.com/ask/why-gmo-good-4

6. https://www.thebalance.com/what-are-gmos-375532

Original Post

Hi Maiya! 

 This topic is certainly relevant today. I remember learning some things about GMO foods, it's really interesting that you're going beyond just looking at the science of it and thinking about the ethics. It's really interesting how in some regions they have to alter their crops because something, or lack of something, could have a dramatic effect on their population. I didn't even think of that! 

 If you're looking at the negative effects next, you could think about the history of GMO use in different regions, and the effects on individuals of different genders, ages, etc. and take into account things like medical conditions. Those are just things to consider since you seem to be looking at the effects on an overall group of people. 

Here's a link you might like; 

http://enhs.umn.edu/current/5103/gm/harmful.html

 Good luck! 

H Maiya,

I think the increase food production is really important and a huge benefit to GMO's because of the world increasing population there needs to be food for everyone. Some other advantages may be disease/pest resistance

For disadvantages I think I'd be really interested in long term effects if any and nutritional values? Also a disadvantage may  be unintended harm to other organisms who are sensitive to the genetically modified version of their food source. Ive also seen more and more in media that people want to eat non-gmo's but I wonder what their reasons are?

This journal is really interesting maybe it will give u more ideas and info!

https://biomed.brown.edu/arise...20foods%20review.pdf

-Rachel

Hey Maiya, 

GMO production is certainly a very interesting and relevant subject today. Often only the negative implications of genetic modification are stated when references are made to GMO's. However, it is true (as you stated in your rice reference) that there are several positives to GMO's. Here is a link to a sight that deliberates the pros and cons of genetic modification. 

https://www.livestrong.com/art...s-cons-of-gmo-foods/

Ben Laird 

 

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