On GMOs

By ROBERTA KELLER and REBECCA KELLER

Since the very beginnings of civilization, humans have been advantageously altering their food through a process known as “artificial selection.”  The term “artificial selection” was first coined by famed naturalist Charles Darwin; he used it to describe the quintessential process of breeding that allows the most useful traits of a species to persist, resulting in the fittest possible organisms. This ancient use of artificial selection acts as a predecessor to the modern breeding technique of creating GMOs, or genetically modified organisms.

The basic concept of a GMO is an organism that’s genome sequence has been altered by exchanging segments of the natural sequence coding for a specific trait with segments of a foreign sequence.  This procedure adjusts the organism so that it possesses a desired characteristic.  Today, GMOs make up the vast majority of America’s food.  Walking down the aisle of a grocery store, one can expect that every item on every shelf contains GMOs, unless specifically marked “certified organic.”  

With GMOs transitioning from a simple concept to an actual development feeding the majority of the American population in a relatively miniscule amount of time, it is imperative to examine how they could potentially lead to the downfall of civilization.