Stories tagged genetically modified organisms


Big wheel keep on turnin': Modern agriculture produces more food on less space than traditional forms.
Big wheel keep on turnin': Modern agriculture produces more food on less space than traditional forms.Courtesy Andrew Stawarz

Continuing our string of counter-intuitive ecological findings, today we read an article which argues that factory farms are good for the environment. It turns out that people need food. And the 6-billion-plus people on the planet today need a LOT of food. So much so, that 38% of the Earth’s land surface is dedicated to farming. That’s a lot. But, thanks to innovations like pest-resistant foods, artificial fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, and expanding irrigation, it’s less than half the area that would be necessary under more traditional farming methods.

(Genetically modified crops are particularly beneficial, as they require fewer chemicals, less fertilizer and help reduce erosion.)

This is not to say that big farms are not without their environmental impact. But that impact is a lot less than it would have been without these innovations. So, on this Earth Day, let us give thanks to the farmers for feeding us, and for doing it so efficiently.


Tuesday, October 31, 2028

Purple. Why is it always purple? Or blue. All the foods that taste terrible but are good for you, always seem to come from the long end of the visible spectrum. Eggplants. Prunes. Now this.

Well, no use whining. Remember what grandma always used to say. Eat your tomatoes, live forever. Or, at least until a truck hits you. She didn’t see that one coming. Literally.

I’d give ‘em to the trick-or-treaters, except they just throw them at my windows. Ungrateful brats. Don’t they know I’m trying to save their lives?


CarrotsCourtesy niznoz
Researchers at Texas A&M and Baylor College of Medicine have genetically engineered a carrot that could deliver up to 40% more calcium. These scientists hope to start genetically modifying foods to increase their nutritional value. The genetic engineering of food so far has focused mostly on keeping crops healthy, making them resistant to pests and disease, and increasing their size and productivity. This is all great for farmers but doesn't specifically help you when you eat the food.

Would you be more likely to eat genetically modified foods if they were actually healthier for you? Take the poll.


The Bell Museum of Natural History is hosting a CAFE SCIENTIFIQUE tonight (Tuesday, November 14) at 6pm at the Varsity Theater in Dinkytown. (There's a $5 suggested donation, but you can attend for free.)

This month, Cafe Scientifique explores the science and politics of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. What is a GMO? How and why have researchers been modifying the genetic makeup of plants and animals, and what are the possible risks and benefits of this type of research? Speakers from the University of Minnesota will discuss the science as well as the policy concerns of genetically modified organisms.

Guest speakers are:

  • Professor Anne R. Kapuscinski, Ph.D., University of Minnesota Department of Fisheries and Conservation Biology, Sea Grant Extension Specialist in Biotechnology and Aquaculture
  • Jennifer Kuzma, Ph.D., Interim Director and Assistant Professor at the Center for Science, Technology, and Public Policy, Humphrey Institute, University of Minnesota.

Dr. Kuzma was featured on Minnesota Public Radio's Midmorning show this morning, discussing the politics of genetically modified foods and potential safety issues.

Do you have questions about genetically modified crops? Do you try to avoid genetically modified foods at the grocery store? What worries you or excites you about the potential of GMOs?