Think of flavor. But not just flavor, the best food out there, crunchy, juicy, sweet or spicy, creamy chocolate whipping, possibly even a guilty pleasure. Most people that one food they get cravings for isn’t very good for them to eat consistently. However, imagine a world in which every meal was not only fantastically appealing, but also not highly fatty, cholesterol ridden, or even 50% sugar; that it was actually nutritious, and each meal could practically run a person for a day. Now imagine that not only is that world within a lifetime of us, but that the only thing holding it and many more possibilities back is fear. Despite the revolution of Genetically modifying technologies within the last fifty years and a show of what is possible with them many people seem to be afraid of this new science, a fear that humans exhibit every time something new and unusual comes into their lives, and yet this fear is unfounded as the corporations that do the modifying are held to very tight regulations already. These fears include prices of food skyrocketing, poisoning from untested genes, and rampant spread of GMO-weed hybrids.
The fear of an Economic crash due to a market run on vastly expensive produce couldn’t be more far from the truth. Even currently GMO products are in the market, I can guarantee that the nearest cupboard or fridge has the product of modification in it. The current estimate is that 75% of the market either is or has modified product in it already(Genetic Engineering). Not only that but between 93-96% of all corn, soy, cotton, and soon more grown in the USA is already GMO strains. The market certainly didn’t crash when any of these were introduced, and it won’t if we continue. If anything the area where price has increased in the market are the Mom-and-Pop stores that sell homegrown “safe” products for amounts much higher than a chain store would dare.
Poisoning from untested genes is both the most ludicrously phrased argument out there and the only one with any current likelihood, but not in the way you might expect. No one is going to receive any toxicity from a modified crop, the FDA screens each and every case individually to ascertain that there is no possibility of damage coming to the public. On top of which there hasn’t even been a case of someone being poisoned in trials, the folks putting organisms together would have to drop a few rungs on the Moron-Genius meter to make a mistake that large. The part of this argument that could pose any risk is in the nature of human food-allergens. When a crop has another gene inserted from a separate organism in order to produce a protein from the second organism they obviously become a bit more like that organism in chemical property. This means if someone is allergic to a specific food and another is grown with protein of that food in it there is a chance they will be allergic. As far as labeling goes a product with a common allergen would likely have to be marketed as such, and there have been no reports of cross species allergy-reaction as of yet.
As far as a cross pollination of GMO crops to nearby relative weeds goes an example of a theoretical situation would explain the fear. A modified wheat is being grown in an area with poor nutrition, high salinity, and harsh storms. The wheat has been custom designed to not only survive this environment but to thrive in it and it gives a higher seed count than many other strains. Near by a strain of grass grows to the best of its capacity. The wild grass becomes pollinated by the wheat and a hybrid strain with the capacity to thrive in the area pops up and begins to run all of the other plants in the area to extinction. Soon this hybrid grass is the only plant in the area because it chokes out everything else. It is a fact that GMo crops have cross pollinated with everything from closely related weed species, wild varieties of the crop plant, and organic farm crops miles away. It is also a fact that not only have there been no cases of an area being over run by an over fit variety of plant but that crossbred populations tend to die out and return to normal within a few years due to a rule of statistics.
As a side note people don’t necessarily fear Ethics, but many people are still concerned on the matter. The largest faction who oppose GMOs for ethics include members of the Christian faith, which I am a member of. Deep in the Bible there are many accounts of man being told to seek for knowledge and wisdom, and that all things on this planet are here for a purpose. In the King James version of the Bible in Proverbs 8 a personified Wisdom tells us that there is no evil in knowledge that “Wisdom is better than Rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it. I wisdom dwell with Prudence, and find out knowledge of Witty Inventions.” Even to a religious person like myself, everything was designed for man to use in some way or another, including the potential to design the world. For God created us in his image, the image of a creator.
As far as human nature ties into all of this, has there even once been a discovery in man's history that wasn’t used by them. Especially in the cases of large discoveries like this one such as Electricity, Aeornautics, and Combustion, man fiddles with it for a few decades and suddenly it grows rampantly and the larger portion of the population accept it as fact and how life is now. Now is the time for the Genetic Revolution, the basics have been done and the world is ready to see all that can be done. I have chosen to speak only on agriculture here as the other branches of BioEngineering could each write a book.
Remember that fantastic meal? Perhaps it’s pasta made with the most aromatic sauce and spices more potent than experienced. A thick rich chocolate cake which can be eaten guilt free. Sit down after a long day and see a newscast about an oil spill cleaned up by dropping bacteria designed to degrade it to practically nothing. There is nothing to fear from genetic modification while the companies doing the modifying are modified by the FDA and United Nations. Nothing will perfect the world, but the power to make our lives as much easier as the invention of the Automobile is within our grasp.