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Advances in health and medicine.
Marjorie Bekaert Thomas
Advances in health and medicine.
Nutrition & Wellness Channel
Reported November 12, 2013

“Frankenfood” Fear: The GMO Debate -- Research Summary

GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS: GMO’s are animals or plants that have been genetically modified with DNA from viruses, bacteria, or other animals and plants. This combination of genes cannot occur during traditional crossbreeding. GMOs have a divided audience; some people do not view them as a threat, while others believe them to be extremely harmful. GMOs are approved in the U.S., but some Americans choose to buy foods that do not contain these organisms. The U.S. government does not have to enforce label laws for GMO products either. Even though Americans have announced that they would like food with GMOs to be labeled, the biotech lobby has been successful in keeping this information from the public. With about 80-percent of our food containing GMO’s, the American public should have the right to know what is in the food they buy. (Source:

GLIADIN: A new protein has been found in GMO wheat that causes people to consume hundreds more calories a day. This protein found in wheat increases appetites, which can lead to obesity. Often mistaken as gluten, the gliadin protein affects all people, not just those who are sensitive to gluten. One way to be sure that you do not consume gliadin is to stay away from wheat products.  (Source:

IRRATIONAL FEAR?:  The GMO debate has many different sides.  Dr. Marc Van Montagu, founder and chairman of the Institute of Plant Biotechnology Outreach at Ghent University in Belgium, thinks that GM foods could help end world hunger.  Genetically modified crops are now planted on nearly a quarter of the world’s farm land by some 17.3 million farmers.  More than 90 percent of those farmers are stallholders who harvest a few acres in developing countries. He thinks society, the economy, and the environment have benefitted from GM crops.  India has flipped from cotton importer to exporter because of insect resistant cotton.  Insect resistant GM crops have cut insecticide spraying by more than 25 percent and as much as seven-fold in some parts of India.  In developing countries, GM crops have helped ensure food security.  He says between now and 2050, global population will rise by about one-third, to 9.6 billion from 7.2 billion, reducing arable land per capita.  He says the question of how to nourish two billion more people in a changing climate will prove one of the greatest challenges in human history. (Source: Dr. Marc Van Montagu)

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