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What is a GMO?
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What is a GMO?

As several of you may already know, GMOs are not organic. However, what is it exactly that makes it so that an organism is considered to be genetically modified? What are the characteristics needed to make it so?

First, there is a need to explain that there is a debate going on about this. Some consider that anything that has been altered from its natural form is automatically considered genetically modified. Others claim that only what has been created in a laboratory falls into that category. This article will explain both of them to you, and you can thereafter form your own opinion.

Lately, and for the last few decades, companies such as Bayer and Monsanto have been investing quite a considerable sum of money to create new forms of plants. This includes, amongst others, tomatoes, corn, soy beans and cotton. They attempt to modify them by inserting genes belonging to other living beings – yes, not just plants; these may come from animals as well – to the existing DNA of the plant. In order to do so, radical techniques are sometimes needed. For soy beans, Monsanto needed to bombard the genes with diseases in order for the change to stick. Therefore, the genetically modified soy bean is contaminated, as well as modified. The purpose? To ensure these plants resist their brand of pesticide and fertilizers. This way, those purchasing their seeds must also use their pesticides and fertilizers, since the plant is genetically programmed to need only that, and also because these products kill every other form of living organism that could find their way anywhere near these crops.

The other form of GMO is the traditional mixing of plants species in order to 'create' a new, stronger, prettier or better tasting one. One way this is done is by grafting them together at the roots. Even though this is much more natural then forcing new genes in a plant, it is still a human intervention and some consider this sort of plant as non-organic. Wheat, for example, is one of the plants that can no longer be found in its original form due to all the tampering humans did to them over the centuries, hence the reason why so many now have gluten allergies or sensibilities.

What do you think?

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  1. Marie Esther
    Sure.
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  2. DaveDandelion
    SnakeWitch, Hi, I'm the organizer for Vegan Chicago and we hosted a scientist to talk on the issue of GMOs. It was very interesting and dispelled many myths about this important technological advancement. I think you would benefit by checking out the following resources: The recording of Dr. Folta's talk on GMO: http://www.podcast.veganchicago.com/ SkepticalVegan: Frankenfood Fears http://skepticalvegan.wordpress.com/2011/09/17/frankenfood-fears/ Pythagorean Crank: Vegan GMO Redux http://pythagoreancrank.com/?p=1504 When evaluating claims we should be sure that we are considering of the credibility of the source. At Vegan Chicago we created a "baloney detection guide" to help vegans do so. http://baloneydetection.veganchicago.com/ thanks, -Dave
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    1. SnakeWitch
      have you seen the movie 'The World According to Monsanto?'
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      1. DaveDandelion
        No, have you read Tomorrow's Table?
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        1. SnakeWitch
          I'm in Colombia... I may not be able to find it here...
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  3. BoosterL16
    Well said SnakeWitch! Heck NO, GMOs! Keep the food supplies real and untainted.
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    1. SnakeWitch
      Yep! Say no to GMO!
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