Higher crop yields, reduced waste, pest-resistant crops.
These are the hallmarks of genetically modified organisms. You might know them better as GMOs.
Much has been made about GMO crops. At first, they were lauded for increasing the food supply and helping to combat world hunger. In recent years though, there’s been an escalating campaign against GMOs as distrust of the crops have grown for a myriad of reasons, some of the logical, some not so much.
But, that’s not how the scientific community works. Rather than operate on a hunch or perception, they see what the research has to say. That’s exactly what a team of researchers in Italy did!
They analyzed 6,000 peer-reviewed studies from all across the globe-spanning 21 years to determine whether or not GMOs are beneficial for the population or something that’s best left untouched.
The GMO Study
GMO corn was first planted in 1996 and since then has spread across the globe over the past 21 years. In fact, according to the study, over 131 million acres (53 million hectares) are littered with GMO corn. As you might expect, the United States is the leader in GMO corn production at a massive 82 million acres, followed by Argentina, Brazil, and Canada.
Researchers poured over 6,000+ peer-reviewed studies, in what is referred to as a “meta-analysis,” a cumulative analysis that pulls from hundreds or thousands of previously conducted studies.
The analysis confirmed that GMOs are indeed NOT harmful to human beings, but quite the opposite - they’re actually better for you than conventional crops.
Researchers noted that GMO crops are significantly lower in mycotoxins, a type of toxic and carcinogenic substance produced by a fungus. Interestingly enough, conventional and organic strains of corn were found to contain small amounts of the toxic compounds.
Researchers attributed the lower mycotoxin content to reduced insect crop damage. Insects can damage the plant’s immune system making it more susceptible to fungal development and the presence of mycotoxins.
Some additional findings from the study:
- GMO corn varieties increased crop yields up to 24.5% compared to their non-GMO brethren
- GMO corn crops had lower percentages of mycotoxins (-28.8%), fumonisins (-30.6%) and thricotecens (−36.5%)
What this means is that using GMOs can reduce economic losses induced by mycotoxins and decrease the health risks for humans and animals alike who eat corn, which is pretty much everyone in some form or fashion. Where GMOs may have the greatest impact are in developing countries where food is scarce and the climate is less than favorable for agriculture.
Based on the research, it appears that GMOs are not only safe, but they may be better for you than conventionally grown crops. Does this study put to rest your unease about GMO crops? Are you more likely to purchase and consume GMOs or will you stand by your local organic crops?
Leave a comment down below with your thoughts.