The term Genetically Modified (GM) foods or GMOs (genetically modified organisms) is most commonly used to refer to crop plants created for human or animal consumption using the latest molecular biology techniques.
These plants are genetically modified so that certain characteristics are either added, removed, or improved and tweaked. For example, some plants are very drought-resistant while others are not. So the latter can not be grown in certain areas, although the land and other resources are available. Genetically modifying them latter by including the drought-resistant gene from the former allows individuals and groups to make the latter more readily available.
While it is possible to naturally achieve the same result at some level, it is far more expensive and time-consuming. Cross-breeding the two plants could lead to getting the drought-resistant gene in the one that does not have it, but as you can probably already tell, the likelihood of that happening is far too low. It is much more cost-effective and practical to just use genetic engineering and extract the gene responsible for the characteristic that will be helpful in other plants and then transfer it.
Of course, there are chances that things may go wrong. Seeing as the resulting plants are not entirely naturally occurring things in nature, they may not react well to the environment, or flat-out may cause adverse side effects when consumed. However, these days these genetically modified food products from reputable research facilities are tested thoroughly and experimented with before being released to the public.
I have an eBook called Genetically Modified Food 101 where I go deeper into these discussions. I also talk about the pros and cons of the industry and research. You can sign up to receive it for free by signing up on the right in the sidebar. Just enter your email address and I’ll send you a copy.
Over the coming days and months I will be discussing and exploring this topic on the blog. Enter your email address below to receive these posts in your your inbox so that you can follow-along and be notified whenever a new post is up. I’ll also send you the free eBook I mentioned earlier.