Is GMO really that evil?

I know what you are thinking. HOW CAN SHE EVEN SAY THAT? Well it's really all a matter of semantics. I read this really informative article in the latest issue of GROW magazine about the different between GMO and GE. 

GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organisms. This is the buzzword, or buzz-acronym, we've all be hearing so much about in the media. It's the evil we look at Monsanto and others for creating. But that's actually a misnomer. There are three main types of GMOs:

  1. Natural Mutations: These are random variations that occur naturally without intentional intervention, for example, a pink spot on a white flower, and they've been happening since the dawn of time in every organism on the planet.
  2. Open Pollinated Reselections: These are varieties that are produced by self-pollination or cross-pollination within a species selected for specific traits. For example, different types of corn which are created just by virtue of being sited close together, or intentionally created by being planted next to each other. The native pollinators and the wind take care of the rest.
  3. Traditional Hybrids: These are varieties produced by controlled cross-breeding within a species or closely related species to combine the desirable traits of the parent. 

A genetically modified organism is any living thing which has different DNA, no matter how minor that change may be, from the parent organism. 

The foods we need to be seriously afraid of are GENETICALLY ENGINEERED foods. They come in three varieties as well:

  1. rDNA: These foods have DNA that has been altered by joining the genes of two different sources, like bacteria and corn, or fish and tomatoes, outside the living organism, (in a test tube or petri dish).
  2. Chemical or radiation induced mutations: this is when plant seeds  are exposed to chemicals or radiation in order to produce mutant seeds which are then used to breed with other species.
  3. Protoplast fusions: these occur when the cells of two different plants which are unable to reproduce sexually, are fused together. These fusions would never occur in nature.

It is more accurate to stop using the term GMO as it was coined by the media, not horticulturalists and not research scientists. While I doubt this will change any time soon, I thought it was an interesting point and something that had been niggling at me for some time. 

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. Please comment below or on the facebook page.