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I am totally convinced that by no means we are playing God by trying to make improvements in science and if this science involved helps to have a better nutrition or avoid the death of thousands by it, than let it be. We have been modifying nature and the environment since the beginning of times, even moving species up to extinction. Therefore, we need those GMOs to give at least some relief to those less fortunate and that are suffering the consequences of not having what they need. Besides, genetic modifications are not new these days, they occur all the time, natural selection has played a key role in all this, and we have done other modifications like iodine-salt, that may not be genetic but, how did we know we were going to altered the environment chemically?
Thus, if we look around and see what we have done to our planet Earth, then I don't think at all GMOs could be such a big deal to be complaining of and thinking we are "playing God" by doing them.

Playing God with GMOs? by Julia SolorzanoJulia Solorzano, 23 Mar 2018 00:13

Hi Cate!
Thanks so much for the reply! And I really like and completely agree with that quote!

Jebha I agree with you. You have the right idea here as I believe. Many new technologies may have initially faced resistance due to believes or perhaps the fear of the unknown. Humans are effecting the environment in so many ways by our activities and the pollution that we produce in the air, water, and land. At least GMO food will be helping many more. Benefiting so many people, GMO food should rather be perceived as morally good and ethical.
Technically humans have been "playing god" for many years with our technologies.

Re: God's Plan by NaghmehVafamand_VCOMNaghmehVafamand_VCOM, 21 Mar 2018 01:30

I completely agree with you on your argument regarding the known benefits of GMOs vs. potential risks which have yet to be confirmed. Additionally, I agree that in order for this to occur on a grand scale, many different organizations need to be involved. I particularly believe changes like this cannot happen without big organizations such as government or wealthy foundations like the Gates Foundation. In the United States, we know that specific types of agricultural products are subsidized, and some without good reason. Here, we have a case where there is a well known nutritional deficiency in the developing world, and we have the product which can help alleviate the burden. Thus, I would really hope that similar measures can be taken for greater public good.

Rice is the primary food source in many places, specially third world countries. Adding beta carotene to rice would help with alleviating vitamin A deficiency for children and adults. However, whether the general public would accept and consume golden rice is a great question. Food has a sentimental value. In many developing nations, traditional foods are prepared by adjusting the color and taste of rice with different spices. Preparing the same traditional foods with golden rice would not give the same result. People might not use golden rice on daily bases for all dishes. Maybe as a solution golden rice should complement white or brown rice. People could choose to use the golden rice a few times a week rather than everyday. I believe I have read before that golden rice was introduced to the general public but not well received or used as expected. Advertisement and advocacy for the use of golden rice in these countries might be helpful.

Naghmeh Vafamand by NaghmehVafamand_VCOMNaghmehVafamand_VCOM, 21 Mar 2018 01:13

In my opinion, yes, the potential benefits of agricultural biotechnology outweigh the possible risks. At this point, we do not have any substantial evidence that GMOs are less safe for human consumption than non-GMO foods and these GMOs have to go through the same safety standards and inspections. However, we do know very well the health effects of chronic malnutrition. Thus, especially for those living in abject poverty, particularly the children among them, deserve the chance at having access to GMOs which can provide solutions for issues like night blindness. The most profound statement to me in this case reading was, "It seems clear that the real problem lies with a few insistent ideologists who have mastered the use of fear tactics to keep the public misinformed. They chant on about presumed health and environmental risks of GMOs, while the known risks of nutritional deficiencies are obvious to everyone." Those of us in the more developed world, especially the ones pursuing these global health issues such as malnutrition, have a moral obligation to put our personal biases/agendas aside, so that we can come up with meaningful solutions to these problems which affect millions of people every day.

Risk Benefit Analysis by TenzinT_VCOM-AUTenzinT_VCOM-AU, 21 Mar 2018 01:06

I completely agree with you in that the dissemination of proper education and information is key in the implementation of the golden rice plan. Media portrayal of certain products is basically the major determinant of what the public does and think as demonstrated by the new fashion trends set by celebrities, etc. Also I liked how you addressed the inherent nature of people not being used to change. When I talked with my family members about a yellow golden rice, they were hesitant on the idea as they all had the impression that any different color from the usual white was contaminated. It was not until I began explaining the benefits of it that they were more receptive to the idea

In my opinion, the advantages of agricultural biotechnology outweighs the disadvantages in this case. In regions where there is a lack of nutrition, the locals are struggling to survive; therefore, agricultural biotechnology will allow for them to live longer and have a higher quality of life. Although there will be a loss of biodiversity, the greater impact of a longer life span exceeds this set back. Furthermore, with a prolonged life and better nutrition, this will allow the locals with the help from nationwide organizations to develop new plans to offset the loss of biodiversity

I would like for one organization or person to put forward evidence that GMOs pose any threat at all. As evidenced here, these concerns are simply ethical and lack any published scientific basis ( With that being said, the benefits are extremely apparent. Rates of morbidity and mortality related to nutritional deficiencies are extremely high in many countries and a proven, relatively effective solution is available. Here is an example of how GMO's do work ( Specific genes are easily transferred to crops and confer unique benefits that are rapidly and efficiently mass produced. With the extremely high prevalence of nutritional deficiencies in iron, vitamin A, B9, etc, these problems can be met head on when you combine the science of GMOs with an appreciation for religion and culture. The ethical basis of GMOs is essentially the same as that of farming — mix good plants with good plants — and few cultures or religions oppose these methods. Although using viruses and bacteria as vectors for transmitting traits between crops is more complicated than farming methods from before, the concept remains unchanged. For these reasons, I cannot understand why countries would ban this method of enhancing crops, improving health, and fighting nutritional and economic poverty via the government. There is simply no viable reason for a nation to do this.

I agree with your conclusion that the benefits outweigh the risks. There is no way to justify not allowing people to have access to something that could resolve current health issues based on fear of the unknown alone. As you said with all new foods posing a risk, I also believe that all new medicine poses a risk. Every new medical advancement, although researched, does not have current proof that it will not have longterm side effects. We don't let this unknown discourage the use of a medicine that could help resolve or improve current health issues in the patient population. I hope that this same logic will be applied to using GMO for the lack of nutrition, which is a real health risk with many consequences. As long as we do our part to prevent problems and make the necessary changes if a problems arises, I believe that GMO offers an attainable option to help solve a major nutritional issue in the world.

Re: risk/benefit by PeytonLampleyVCOM-AUPeytonLampleyVCOM-AU, 20 Mar 2018 21:56

Peyton, I really like the point that you made about creating alternative strains to combat potential risks. With this, we will be taking care of the immediate problem that is causing harm to the population, and may potentially take care of future problems that may arise from having a homogeneous crop.
In addition, there is a huge possibility that those unknown risks may never surface. I agree that is "inhumane" to overlook current problems with issues that may not even emerge.

The decision to implement biotechnology on a grand scale in the world can come with many implications, both positive and negative. However, I believe the overall benefits of biotechnology vastly outweigh the potential risks. Biotechnology offers a relatively affordable and attainable solution to a problem that has plagued the world for a long time and continues to impact more of the population. The lack of access to nutritional food is a constant source of health problems for many people in the world. Implementing GMO technology offers the opportunity to help feed these populations enough food with some of the necessary nutrients that are currently a depleted in the normal diet. Due to the fact that a lot is largely unknown about the new technology, there are some potential risks. Some examples of the risks include crops being more susceptible to disease due to the lack of diversity or unforeseen longterm health consequences in the consumer of the GMO food. While these risks pose a real threat, I believe that the threat of the current health problems in existence due to lack of nutrition outweigh a potential risk of others. Also, it would be very possible to plan ahead on limiting some of these risks by ensuring there are alternative strains in case a disease dose impact the crops or a future health consequence is found. Overall, the real threat of lack of proper nutrition for many people can be helped in an affordable manner. The benefits of the GMO products outweigh the potential risks of the products because it would be inhumane to not offer people assistance for current problems due to an unknown risk of others.

I disagree on the point that a country can ban a product because of limited speculation that it could cause problem. Like you said, there is an "unlikely potential" for the development a "super weed" or newly created teratogen due to GMOs usage, and I would love to see some evidence that this is even a possibility. I think the basis would lie on the idea that bacteria or fungi or other microorganisms could transform genes coding for heat resistance or pest resistance to other microorganisms and eventually pass that along to a weed. However, given that these genes are not being created, simply taken and inserted from already existing plants, I don't think GMOs are creating a dangerous environment for the development of a superweed. I also don't think there is any evidence that swapping some genetics between plants increases the probability of transmission of genetics between existing plants, as the mechanisms for transmission already exist and are not being altered. Therefore, I don't think agree that these countries are justified in banning the products at all. I also agree with JLineberry in that GMO's would be particularly helpful in wake of natural disasters.

Every revolutionary change that was brought on due to technology for the betterment of mankind was first abhorred or seen as "evil" before being gradually accepted. This maybe how GMO's become accepted in societies with religious emphasis. Also, a religious individual could argue that using GMOs to help a malnourished population maybe God's plan. Many religions believe that human knowledge is a gift of God and that technology have been made possible because God puts those ideas into the inventor's head.
As mentioned in the article by Mr/Ms.PK, the public does not seem to view GMO crops as "playing God"; the problem is the inaccessibility to advanced technology to create efficient GMOs because of not enough funding and some inappropriate fear of GMOs being detrimental to the environment. Due to this, I don't think Genetically Modified Organisms will offend religious beliefs or play "God with the environment, especially with this particular population.

God's Plan by Jebha Babu (VCOM-AU)Jebha Babu (VCOM-AU), 20 Mar 2018 21:48

Isabella, this is a great a post. When I first read the question, I had the same response. I agree that while it may be appealing to implement GMO to maintain your position in the government, doing so would cause you to completely lose the support of your community, and furthermore it would be a waste of time, money, and resources since the population would likely just avoid the GMO products. However, I wonder if it would be worth trying to start an educational program to better inform the religious, cultural and social majority about the benefits of GMO's before completely shutting down the idea. Since GMO's do pose a nutritional and environmental benefit, I am curious if the population would be more apt to accept them once they were appropriately informed? Nevertheless, if at this point the population still opposed GMO, I think it would be best to seek alternative ways to improve the nutrition while respecting their wants and beliefs.

I think that the potential benefits of agricultural biotechnology outweigh the possible risks. Currently, several benefits are known to be associated with agricultural biotechnology. For example, GMO’s have been shown to reduce pesticide use, decrease soil erosion, improve overall crop yields, and improve the safety and nutritional composition of certain foods. However, on the other hand, little is known about the risks associated with agricultural biotechnology. Some problems have been proposed such as “super weeds,” allergic reactions, and loss of biodiversity, but overall there is little support to back these claims. Considering that, I believe that the imminent benefits of agricultural biotechnology outweigh the possible risks. Malnutrition from micronutrient deficiency is a pervasive problem, and GMO's offer a real time solution to that problem. However, I also think that the risks of agricultural biotechnology should not just be ignored. I believe that through the development and implementation of GMO's there should be extensive testing and monitoring for potentially harmful side effects.

Still, this leads to the next question: who should bear the risks of developing and consuming these products? That is tough to answer, but I believe that the risk should be taken on by organizations, farmers, and communities who are willing to participate. This is not a change that should be forced on anyone. To help recruit participants, the government and organizations could offer incentives for growing or consuming these products. On the other hand, I believe that the benefits should be shared by the farmers and organizations who grew the products, and also among communities who have recognized nutritional needs.

You're so right in saying that natural disasters can really cripple the products. In this case, GMO would be particularly helpful. The produce would grow quickly, produce more, and have additional nutrients that are likely needed to be supplemented. This may allow the region to stave off the long term effects of the crops being destroyed. The countries would need to decide, as you said. I think the US has a tendency to tell countries what they need and impose our beliefs and resources on them. That is rarely (if ever) a good strategy. It may be more appropriate for each region to decide about the GMO. City areas and rural areas in developing countries have very different needs.

Currently people in developing countries are dying from lack of nutrients. Certainly introducing rice that has been genetically modified contains some risks. However, risks mentioned to the people simply included allergies and "other unknown risks". To me, these do not seem detrimental. Certainly there is already a potential for allergy with any new food. If one is allergic to the new rice, they simply would not eat it. They'd rely on the traditional rice and other food as they already do. Its also been mentioned that a vitamin A toxicity is possible. From what I have read, it seems there is not enough vitamin A or beta carotine that this could be a concern. It may need to be monitored as successive generations of rice are bread, however, I do not believe that to be a concern based on information from the reading, supplemental guides, and other articles I have read. As far as the unknown risks, would the outweigh the current known risk of blindness and death? I do not think so. The people who are eating the rice would carry both the risks (allergy/unknown) and benefits (reduction of vitamin deficiency) of the new rice.

Risks to the environment include both known and unknown factors. There is concern that using GMO rice will decrease biodiversity and may cause problems with nearby crops or animals. This is a risk with any GMO crop. Its also, unfortunately, something we cannot really know until the crop is planted and used. Environmental benefits include reduced pesticide usage, reduced erosion, and better food safety. These things can actually help protect the environment. While loosing biodiversity could certainly be problematic, the environmental benefits may also help preserve the land in areas that have land shortages and food safety problems.

I believe the benefits outweigh the risks in this case.

risk/benefit by JLineberryVCOM-VAJLineberryVCOM-VA, 20 Mar 2018 18:52

I agree, in order to allow people any culture to make the most independent decision is objective education with in depth information of all aspects of the spectrum. I can understand how some would view this as " playing God", but God created us to have domain over several things on this earth. The key is to remain thankful for the ability to do so, and to carry out your actions within the confines of His intentions. I think this issue almost solely comes down to being properly informed. Informed not only, on GMO use in the past and present, but being informed properly(and individually reading) scripture. I don't think we are abusing his given freedom by using GMOs, there is constant genetic change all around us.

I do not believe that governments are justified in their bans. In every governmental decision, there is risk. The key is to assess the risk/benefit ratio keeping in mind the potential of a certain plan going forward. The economical and societal benefits are obvious and have been proven in several countries. However, concern over possible negative seems to be mostly speculation. I don't believe governments should force GM as the only option, but they are doing a disservice by not making it an available one.

Q4 Answer by Charlie Bergdolt Charlie Bergdolt , 20 Mar 2018 18:24
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