GMO Myth #4 "Genetic engineering is a new technology"


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Chances are good that you’ve heard of GMOs – or genetically modified organisms. GMO technology allows farmers to grow crops that are more disease-resistant and therefore use fewer insecticides.

Yet many of us have gotten the message that GMO equals bad, and that’s just not true. Still not convinced? Let me dispel these six myths about genetically modified ingredients.

Myth 4: Genetic engineering is a new technology. Farmers have intentionally changed the genetic make-up of plants for over 10,000 years. Every fruit, vegetable and grain that is commercially available today has been altered by humans. Plant engineering began centuries ago when farmers started crossbreeding plants to come up with tastier or more disease-resistant crops. Then, in the 1920s, farmers turned to chemicals and radiation to change the seed to produce the plant they wanted. Both approaches modify up to 300,000 plant genes. With genetic engineering, scientists can select and modify just the one to 3 genes needed to breed a plant with the desired traits. The end result: corn that is resistant to certain insects, papaya that is resistant to disease, and soybeans that can survive a drought. And genetic engineering isn’t limited to food. Insulin used to come from human cadavers and then pig pancreases, but now a higher-quality insulin exists thanks to genetic engineering.

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