Many people don't know a lot about genetic modification. Actually, this technology is so new that there is not a lot of research on it. Those who want to wait until its benefits and safety are proven may choose to avoid foods that contain altered DNA. DNA is what makes living things reproduce after their kind, as the Bible says. DNA is contained in the seed of a plant, so planting a genetically-modified seed will produce a plant with inescapable attributes that are not natural.
Creators of GMOs say that the technology will produce higher yields, which is important for the earth's growing populations. Many look instead to the higher profits it creates for the owners of the technology. Modified soybean plants, for example, can withstand heavier applications of pesticides like Roundup. Companies not only profit from selling the seed, they also make more from increased herbicide sales.
Unfortunately, the 'green' movement is relatively silent on this subject. This is ironic, since it started with opposition to pesticides like DDT which were poisoning air, water, and soil while harming all life on the planet in the process. Birds were dying, as the pesticide made their shells so weak no young survived. Fish were dying in rivers and oceans. Neighborhoods were routinely sprayed to suppress mosquitoes. Farming was less labor-intensive, but it became - and still is - the unhealthiest profession.
America is one of the few places that has embraced GMO technology. The European Common Market has banned it, as well as the use of systemic pesticides which become part of the plant they are applied to. Although the research is not 'definitive' as yet, Europe has seen a return of healthy bee populations. A word to the wise: check what you spray on your roses if you want butterflies in your garden.
It's important for home gardeners to support companies that market natural seeds and plants. Many of these are small operations or family-farm enterprises, but some large catalog-sales companies offer only natural products. All you have to do is ask customer service to get this information.
All of us love volunteer plants that come back year after year in established gardens. Some gardeners have cherry tomatoes that their grandfathers planted; sweet potatoes endure for generations when soil conditions are right. With GMOs, saving seed or having it lie dormant over the winter and then sprout is impossible. This, of course, gives the technology owners great control over the world's food supply.
Organic seed is never genetically-modified - at least until the definition is changed. Heirloom seed will not be altered. If there is no organic or heirloom designation, you will have to look for claims that the seed doesn't contain alien genes or ask the question before you buy.
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