Forums / Life Science / GMO Foods or Genetically Modified Foods - Harmful or Helful?

Life Science

GMO Foods or Genetically Modified Foods - Harmful or Helful?

Author Post
Ronaldo Relador Ronaldo Relador 45315 Points

One of the hot science topic now is GMO Foods. I have found this link and I felt interested to extend the discussion here in our forum for Life Sciences. The link above shares some advantages and disadvantages of GMO Foods. What do you think about it?

Genesis Lopez Genesis 605 Points

In my opinion I think it is harmful for us to consume it because of all the hormones alterated it causes so manhy diseases to come upon us as we grow older. However I think it is helpful to provide more resouces because of overpopulation.

Lonisha Rogers Lonisha Rogers 1370 Points

GMO foods can be both helpful and harmful. Across the world, GMO foods are used to treat food disparities. An example of the disadvantages of GMO foods would be the over-modification of genes that could cause harm to the body. Recently at the store, I was presented with a GMO grape that was overly sweetened.

Kenia Cuellar Kenia Cuellar 475 Points

I like that with science we can make discoveries, we are finding ways to make foods healthier and cheaper. However, the disadvantage that us scary is that GMO foods can cause allergic reactions and issues within our digestive system. We also have to consider that something that is not natural could always have side effects that we havent even had a chance to discover yet.

Kenia Cuellar Kenia Cuellar 475 Points

Do you think that maybe we should as a society use science to learn new and better ways to grow our own natural organic foods instead of altering foods?

Sarah Sejzer Sarah Sejzer 365 Points

Hi. I did not know very much about genetically modified foods so I read the article. After reading the article, I have formed the opinion that I am for and against it at the same time. This should not be treated lightly; and we do not really know the full effects of a new experimental food until it is released into the public. It said in the article that vitamins and minerals can be inserted into crops such as rice in third world countries, preventing diseases. I believe this is a wonderful thing; if there was any way to help third world countries this would be it. However, it also said in the article that the third world countries might not be able to afford it, thus widening the gap between the rich and the poor. If this is the case, then I don't support GMO's in that sense. I am only for this aspect of it if the countries could afford it. Another aspect of GMO's is that humans could have allergic reactions since new organisms are being introduced. Some people already have life threatening allergic reactions to foods such as peanuts. However, one thing I found very interesting is that GMO's can be inserted into crops such as potatoes to resist drought and the cold. There are some countries that are very cold or have droughts frequently who are suffering because they can't grow crops. This would be a great solution! We could have a much more abundance of food. Although there are numerous benefits to using GMO's, I still am leaning towards the negative side of it. This is because the risk of not knowing what kind of harmful effects the GMO's can have on people, whether it be disease or a deathly allergic reaction, is just too much of a hazard for me. They may seem harmless now, but mass unexpected deaths can occur. I do love the idea of it though, just the idea that we could solve so many of our problems of today, but I still have to disagree with it.

Alissa Dahlem Alissa Dahlem 200 Points

Sarah, I really enjoyed reading about the opinions you formed regarding genetically modified organisms after reading the article. I work at a health food store and have some background knowledge of GMOs. It has always been explained to me that GMOs are bad and that we want to avoid them. I think that my main concern regarding genetically modified organisms is that the outcome of the modification is always unpredictable. This is where we can face issues such as allergies. Beyond allergies, there are so many unknowns regarding GMOs and their effect on human health. I also know that using genetic modification to produce herbicide resistant crops can be harmful to the environment. It is argued that the use of less herbicides is better for the environment, but by killing off all other plants and even wildlife in the surrounding area we are causing long-term environmental damage. Also, there are no regulations for genetically modified organisms. I think that this is because there is so much that is unknown regarding GMOs that placing regulations on them would be difficult. I think that once we know more about GMOs I can form a more solid opinion, but until then I will err on the side of caution.

Harriet Smith Harriet Smith 3550 Points

Hello, One year I had my kids write persuasive essays either for or against GMOs. We had studied some examples in class. One of the most interesting was Golden rice, rice with vitamin D added. I have not heard how this rice is doing and if there with negatives later discovered with it.

Elizabeth Dalzell-Wagers Elizabeth Dalzell 9945 Points

Thanks Adah Teachers domain is an awesome resource, that I had forgotten about. Liz

Jennifer Rahn Jennifer Rahn 67955 Points

You are all bringing up fantastic points concerning GMOs. This is one content area that can be easily tied to social studies. What are some of the issues of genetically modified soybeans and corn? Soybean genetic code is actually patented, and farmers that use seed accidentally containing the modification are actually "stealing" the technology if they use seed that has been cross-pollinated with the GMO. This is in order to allow pesticides to be used while not damaging the crop. There are also issues with genetically modified corn. Being from Wisconsin, these are significant issues, with agricultural products being a significant economic contributor. What effect does rBGH have on milk? It does allow the cow to produce more milk. Anyway, these are issues that need to be considered from multiple perspectives. What are some good approaches to having our students analyze these issues?

Eliosa Bellah Eliosa Bellah 330 Points

I assigned my students few years ago to look into their food pantry and list the food they have. Then they have to check the label and see whether it's Genetically modified products. To their surprise, they found out that they were already consuming genetically modified foods. It was a lively discussion the next day in class and they have questions after questions. To add to their curiosity, I let them view a documentary of GMO foods where the pros and cons were presented by the expert in the field. In the end, I assigned a one-page report of their stand about GMO products and their supporting evidences. I had fun reading their papers and their conviction on the subject matter.

Kate Geer Kate Geer 7865 Points

Here is something from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences on the perceived and actual risks of GMOs. National Institutes of Health
For the past two years I have done an exercise on this topic with a group of middle and high school teachers. The teachers begin by reading the pros/cons of different aspects of GMOs. After reading the pros and cons of each argument, they either choose to agree or disagree with the argument. I have them move to one side of the room or the other. We continue this through 7-8 rounds. Both times, I always seem to have 90-95% of participants on the side that agrees with the cultivation, production and distribution of GMO foods and products. This is an introductory activity that gets teachers thinking about some of the complex arguments behind this issue. Next I invite in scientists and nutritionists to participate in a panel discussion with the teachers. It is always a lively conversation with lots of great questions asked. I do this not to have teachers form an opinion either way, but to get a clear understanding of the issues so can they make up their own minds as to how they feel.
I think the same should be done with students. I think you have to be careful when you are looking for resources on this issue as there can be a lot of misinformation out there as well.

Apartment Patino Mario Patino 1295 Points

I have a question, why are GMO's considered bad or good? This is no different from putting judgment labels on recessive and dominant alleles. If you consider the definition of a GMO, you can associate the manipulation(intentional or accidental)of a genome plants/animals which were domesticated. What is the difference between ancient methods of genetic manipulation (artificial selection) vs. modern methods of genome manipulation? In terms of risk, ancient methods were based on chance and modern methods use instrumentation to make accurate manipulations. GMO's would not be as controversial if the general population understand our history in manipulating organisms and the basic understanding the genomes of organisms are being changed all the time (ie. uv radiation, viral infections, etc). Modern technology is based on mechanisms that already exist in nature.

Kendra Young Kendra Young 17180 Points

Hi everyone, What a great topic for discussion! My concerns with GMO's have always been from an environmental/biodiversity standpoint. I found two excellent resources in the NSTA library that I thought everyone might be interested in so I put them in a collection that I'm attaching below. These are college level resources that give excellent primary resources and court cases for your review. With a little tweaking these resources could also be used in high school and maybe even middle school classrooms. Happy reading! Kendra

GMO Collection (2 items)
Jennifer Rahn Jennifer Rahn 67955 Points

I have also used the documentary Food, Inc. with middle school (could also be used with HS and college) to bring up some of the questions surrounding GMOs (and other corporate food issues). I would suggest selecting only a short snippet; otherwise the documentary is very slanted. It could be a great starting point for a debate though. The kids really connected.

Michele Bloomquist Michele Bloomquist 2395 Points

Surely our students will enjoy debating this problem and can infuse our understanding with some keener insights. In high school students are more actively contemplating these issues than we might think. As for my opinion, as a former research assistant there seemed to be others working in science with many cavalier approaches in labs-thus compelling me to feel morally obligated to reveal how I really feel about the GMO process. There is really no predicting how this might affect our health in the longer run. Who tracks whether it causes cancer or modfication of our cellular level components in a longer haul? Sure we can control one feature but then this is related to something we modified in the environment in the first place like pesticides. Then we make genetic variability a thing of the past with cultivars. I am not so sure I am comfortable feeding infants something with a viral genome attached to it and seeing just how their sensitivities and allergies might develop. Baby food or oral vaccine anyone? Yes, underdeveloped countries might get slightly ahead of the food game for a while, but something intuitive says a whole new set of "hunger games" will ensue. Under watchful eyes of manipulative people the whole seemingly innocent process could harbor the potential to turn quite negative. Only thorough careful evaluation of the impact of what we are doing is any real progress going to come of future GMO implementations.

Mitchell Miho Mitchell Miho 3090 Points

I loved watching Food Inc. but hated myself for being such a dependent on all of those types of food products. Back on the topic however, in some cases i believe it is okay to produce GMO foods, especially in Hawaii where the papaya would have ceased to exist due to its vulnerability to the "Papaya Ringspot Virus" as stated on I for one am a happy camper when it comes to consuming papaya with a bit of lemon or lime juice, but i do realize that we are eating something that is not organic and this does open a gateway of controversy. Especially on the concept of how far is too far? Thank you very much for the information and website. I will take a look and try to implement some of the information into one of my lessons, especially because it's become such a heated topic as of late.

Ronnda Cargile Ronnda Cargile Hughes 3610 Points

Certainly this is a hot topic in science. This topic transcends all disciplines for science life, physical and earth. I am working on a Literacy design Collaborative module on this where students research genetically modified foods and choose a position on the issue. This will be a collaborative project between english and science. Students will compose a business letter to congress, senators, state representatives expressing their concern.

Mary Ann Ng Mary Ann Ng 3385 Points

This was on the ballot in CA last year. We did a unit on it tied to CA's biotech standards. It really helped flesh out the confusing wording on both sides of the Proposition. Students looked at the pros and cons.They came up with campaign posters; and had mini-debates in class. Personally, I am thrilled with this topic since it was the subject of my MS Thesis.

Shannon Hudson Shannon Hudson 2555 Points

What a great debate topic! Most students dont realize people have been genetically modifying food for centuries. They figured out that a big cow crossed with a big cow usually made big cow babies... which meant more meat for survival. And we have modified corn to be resistant to certain insects reducing the use of pesticides which means more food for starving areas. You may want to check out I'm not sure where you are, but they bring agriculture professionals to 4th - 6th grade classrooms. They have FREE speakers taht share about the methods of modern American farming throughout the Midwest states of Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North and South Dakota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

Jiaxelis Hernandez Jiaxelis Hernandez 720 Points

Hi. I am not an expert in this subject but I believe we must to be very careful with the genetically modified food. Personally my nephew can't eat a lot of food because a particular situation and all that he can eat must to be organic.

Hi. Personally I do not believe in GMO food. I have a condition that the food plays an incredible role in how I feel or how good or bad I will wake next day. I definitively prefer to keep eating organic food or if not organic, at least not GMO food. Also I think the quality of GMO food can't be the best.

Sandra Naihe Sandra Naihe 605 Points

GMO is also happening big time on my small & tiny island of Kauai. The rally was a success and just the other day was another gathering. I personally also wonder, harmful or helpful?

Mitchell Miho Mitchell Miho 3090 Points

I really wish I had the time to discuss this with my students in my Earth/science course. I am positive that not all of them are aware of the pros and cons of gmo's and the consumption of foods that have been modified by them. Some of the students have very different backgrounds from one another and the knowledge base that they can bring to a discussion can actually transition into a higher level thinking debate. Even the student that says "well we need gmo's in order to produce enough food for all the people" will result in a student that is against it to really think about their response. In Avid programs, there are lessons called philosophical chairs and socratic discussion that really facilitates these types of lessons. I searched up a link that explains the process of both and encourage you folks to try the out in your life or even chemistry courses. You might be amazed at how engaging and motivated the students can get in preparation for a debate type of lesson.

Mary Morgan Mary Morgan 4835 Points

While at the NSTA conference, I attended a session by Edvotek where we used PCR to identify whether common corn chip brands contained genetically modified corn. It could be done with any foodstuffs (focusing on corn and soy is probably best though because these are most common in foods). I thought I would share the link to the website because I thought some of you might like to have a look as well. I always do bioethics after the AP Bio exam. One of the topics we cover is GMOs and this lab seems like it would be a great discussion starter as a demo, a great topic completer with full inquiry, or both!

Danielle Dace Danielle Dace 2790 Points

This year in applied biochemistry my 11th graders debated the GMO topic. They wrote one minute persuasive speeches and they had to have their resources printed. The reason that they had to print the articles is because the other side could ask to see their resources. So not only did they debate the topic (with conviction) they also scrutinized the opposing teams evidence. After the debate I took them on a field trip to Monsanto in St. Louis. They were able to ask informed questions.

Pamela Auburn Pamela Auburn 68625 Points

Danielle, I love that you are having students debate controversial issues. Data shows students who discuss/debate controversial issues get higher NAEP test scores Teaching controversial issues can stimulate critical thinking and informed citizenship. is a great resource for the discussion of controversial issues. Here is the link

Chris Leverington Chris Leverington 4035 Points

We just had a big discussion about GMO's in my biochemistry class. Here is a good article that we read. It was interesting because a lot of people were ok with them putting antifreeze proteins in ice cream to make it smoother, however, took issue with genetically modifying fish to better suit more extreme environments. The article tals about putting the dna for antifreeze proteins found in arctic/antarctic fish into salmon so that they could survive in colder streams.

Post Reply

Forum content is subject to the same rules as NSTA List Serves. Rules and disclaimers