GMO – What does it really mean?

GMO-seedI recently saw this photo posted on a friend’s Facebook page and it prompted my response. These types of GMO posts are all over the web and are generally of this variety — extremely misleading and confusing. Allow me to explain.

What is a GMO?

The term “GMO”, which stands for genetically-modified organism, was originally coined to describe transgenic crop varieties. Transgenic varieties are genetically engineered by inserting a gene from an unrelated organism (usually bacteria) into the DNA of a plant species. The added gene gives the plant a certain characteristic that it would not otherwise have. Usually the characteristic is a resistance to a particular herbicide or disease. In the case of GMO-cotton, the plant is resistant to glyphosate (Roundup). This allows the grower to eliminate all weeds without damaging the cotton in the growing fields.

In the post above, corn is the only crop in which a true-GMO or transgenic variety has been developed. The other crops (banana, carrot, eggplant, watermelon) in the photo have changed over time through selective breeding and hybridization. This process involves taking two individuals of the same species and breeding them so that the offspring has desirable traits of both parent plants. So yes, they all have been “genetically modified” to some extent — but the processes are completely different. Inserting an unrelated gene into a plant is quite different than breeding two plants of the same species.

This photo is a perfect example of the plethora of misinformation you can find all over the internet regarding GMO and non-GMO food. We’re not here to promote or condemn GMO or non-GMO. But it is important that people are appropriately informed so they can make an educated decision for themselves and their family.

We believe that the only way to truly know what’s in your food is to grow it yourself!

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