Genetically Modified Plants: Techniques, Safety, and Labeling

Student: Ramandeep Dhillon*
Mentor: Mark Jareb
Major: Biology

The creation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is a technology that is relatively new. The five major techniques for genetically modified (GM) plant creation include conventional plant breeding, mutation breeding, transgenesis, cisgenesis, and targeted mutagenesis with the newest approach making use of CRISPR/Cas. These technologies have revolutionized the world of science and medicine with the introduction of genetically modified plants and animals for their use in agriculture, food production, pharmaceuticals, and other areas. However, since the time of this biotechnology, the controversy of its use arose immediately. Today, the controversy surrounds the methods of GM foods rather than the potential use. Critics agree with the potential benefits of producing greater yields with reduced use of pesticides, yet they are skeptical of safety concerns to the human population. Thus, anti-GM groups call for the labeling of GM foods along with pulling them off the market altogether. On the other hand, proponents of GM foods note that these crops are providing benefits of herbicide and pest resistant crops along with being nutritionally equivalent for a much less cost. In my research I explored this and found no substantial evidence to support the safety concerns of opponents. In fact, GM technology is shown to be efficient and the benefits outweigh the proposed negatives.

*Honors Senior