Never stop learning with Curiosity Learning Paths!

  • Get inspired with the web’s best bite-sized learning content, curated for learners like you.
  • Learn more—quickly and easily—by exploring our dynamic Learning Paths.
  • Spread quick knowledge to friends with our original Smart Memes!

How Safe Are Genetically Modified Foods?

Scroll down to explore a learning path based on this topic.
Playlist Description

Could genetically modified foods (GMOs) be the solution for world hunger? Although your solution will help feed the world's malnourished people, the fix could potentially cause cancer, increase allergies and terrorize the environment. Would the trade-off be worth it? That's what scientists, doctors and everyday shoppers are asking themselves when it comes to genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. Currently, about 80 percent of food is genetically modified—and researchers are still trying to separate fact from fiction when it comes to health and environmental outcomes.

In the U.S. alone, an estimated 75 percent of processed foods on grocery store shelves contain genetic modifiers. Of American-grown corn, 85 percent is genetically modified, as is 91 percent of soybeans and 88 percent cotton. Is this reason to worry, or do food activists still have much to learn? At their best, GMOs could play a major role in mass producing food sources to meet the needs of starving families worldwide. At their worst? Well, that burger might just end up taking a bite out of you.

05:35
Add to Playlist
Watch Later Added
  • Key Facts
  • Actions
  • About This Video
  • 1 0:37

    Farmers have modified plants and animals in some form for more than 12,000 years.

    Share Fact
  • 2 2:47

    Some studies have concluded there is not an increased risk of problems associated with GMO products.

    Share Fact
  • 3 3:54

    There's conflicting evidence as to the effect of GMOs on the environment.

    Share Fact
Since our first episode, you've begged us to cover Genetically Modified Organisms, or GMOs. Honestly, I often can't tell if those of you who are asking us to do this expect us to tell you're they're awesome of the worst thing to happen to humanity. Ever. This is one of those topics people feel so passionately about, that I'm guaranteed to make a lot of you angry, no matter what I say. But we never let that stop us. GMOs are the topic of this week's Healthcare Triage. Those of you who want to read more and see references can go here: http://theincidentaleconomist.com/wordpress/?p=56068 John Green -- Executive Producer Stan Muller -- Director, Producer Aaron Carroll -- Writer Mark Olsen -- Graphics http://www.twitter.com/aaronecarroll http://www.twitter.com/crashcoursestan http://www.twitter.com/realjohngreen http://www.twitter.com/olsenvideo
03:14
Add to Playlist
Watch Later Added
  • Actions
  • About This Video
Genetically modified foods have been demonized in recent years by health advocates and environmentalists alike. If we look at the history of food cultivation, however, it is apparent we've been eating them all along. Scientific American editor Eric R. Olson explains. -- WATCH more Instant Egghead: http://goo.gl/CkXwKj SUBSCRIBE to our channel: http://goo.gl/fmoXZ VISIT scientificamerican.com for more science news: http://goo.gl/lHq0CH -- More to explore: The Truth About Genetically Modified Food [Preview] (Scientific American) http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=the-truth-about-genetically-modified-food&WT.mc_id=SA_sciamerican_meta The Evolution of Corn (University of Utah) http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/variation/corn/ Labeling of Bioengineered Foods[PDF] (AMA) http://www.ama-assn.org/resources/doc/csaph/a12-csaph2-bioengineeredfoods.pdf AAAS Board of Directors: Legally Mandating GM Food Labels Could "Mislead and Falsely Alarm Consumers" http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2012/1025gm_statement.shtml 20 Question on Genetically Modified Foods (WHO) http://www.who.int/foodsafety/publications/biotech/20questions/en/ Test Tube Tomato [Video] (New York Times) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kv5TlkAN3z8&feature=c4-overview-vl&list=PLbT8q_Cig_wsjQ6bN1oBKkrkJ6oFiskDE
01:38
Add to Playlist
Watch Later Added
  • Actions
  • About This Video
The tests don't go long enough, Wells says. Question: Is genetically modified food safe? Spencer Wells: Well, you know, I'm not an expert on genetic modification, it's certainly not the sort of genetics I do, it is possible to do some very interesting and perhaps depending on your perspective, scary things to genomes these days including inserting genes that were never before, you know, the standards I think should be relatively tight for allowing these things to get out into the food supply. The problem is, you know, often that the tests don't go on perhaps as long as they should, so how long is long enough, we don't know, that's one of the big questions. I mean is two years long enough, is five years long enough, is 20 years long enough, you know, I think that again is part of the social debate that we need to be having and I think, you know, citizens, people who should be able to vote on these possibilities, these topics, should be part of the debate, need to understand the pros and cons, you know, by inserting genes into plants, maybe we can up the protein content and that, you know, saves another hundred million people a year living in Sub Sahara in Africa. On the other hand, you know, is it possible that we're inserting the wrong genes or that they might do something that, you know, we can't anticipate at the outset, it's a possibility, we need to know, you know, what those possibilities are, how this stuff really works, you know, the underlying mechanism I think that is part of being a scientifically literate citizen today.   Recorded on: 5/22/08 Question: Is genetically modified food safe? Spencer Wells: Well, you know, I'm not an expert on genetic modification, it's certainly not the sort of genetics I do, it is possible to do some very interesting and perhaps depending on your perspective, scary things to genomes these days including inserting genes that were never before, you know, the standards I think should be relatively tight for allowing these things to get out into the food supply. The problem is, you know, often that the tests don't go on perhaps as long as they should, so how long is long enough, we don't know, that's one of the big questions. I mean is two years long enough, is five years long enough, is 20 years long enough, you know, I think that again is part of the social debate that we need to be having and I think, you know, citizens, people who should be able to vote on these possibilities, these topics, should be part of the debate, need to understand the pros and cons, you know, by inserting genes into plants, maybe we can up the protein content and that, you know, saves another hundred million people a year living in Sub Sahara in Africa. On the other hand, you know, is it possible that we're inserting the wrong genes or that they might do something that, you know, we can't anticipate at the outset, it's a possibility, we need to know, you know, what those possibilities are, how this stuff really works, you know, the underlying mechanism I think that is part of being a scientifically literate citizen today.   Recorded on: 5/22/08
01:43
Add to Playlist
Watch Later Added
  • Actions
  • About This Video
Complete video at: http://fora.tv/2010/01/29/Rethinking_How_to_Feed_The_World Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates explains why his philanthropic foundation helps fund genetically modified food research. "You are right on the verge of starvation all the time, so every tool that's safe and appropriate, you at least want to look into," he says. ----- World leaders and CEOs at the Davos 2010 World Economic Forum participate in a panel called Rethinking how to feed the world. The panel discusses the challenges facing global food production and possible solutions that will increase yield and support agricultural producers worldwide. The panel is moderated by Prannoy Roy, Chairman, New Delhi Television (NDTV), India, and panelists included: Jakaya M. Kikwete, William H. Gates III, Ellen Kullman, Nguyen Tan Dung, Patricia A. Woertz, Prannoy Roy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala - World Economic Forum William (Bill) H. Gates is chairman of Microsoft Corporation and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
03:11
Add to Playlist
Watch Later Added
  • Actions
  • About This Video
GMO foods are a big point of contention these days. Worldwide protests, Supreme Court rulings, and online campaigns-- it's safe to say the issue isn't leaving the headlines any time soon. But as GMO foods become more prevalent, Laci looks at what science has to say about scientifically created food. Read More: Study Reveals GMO Corn to be Highly Toxic http://rt.com/usa/toxic-study-gmo-corn-900/ "A leaked study examining genetically-modified corn reveals that the lab-made alternative to organic crops contains a startling level of toxic chemicals." Glyphosate's Suppression of Cytochrome P450 Enzymes and Amino Acid Biosynthesis by the Gut Microbiome: Pathways to Modern Diseases http://www.mdpi.com/1099-4300/15/4/1416 "Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup®, is the most popular herbicide used worldwide." New Review Points to Glyphosate's Dangerous Health Effects http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/blogs/new-review-points-to-glyphosates-dangerous-health-effects/ "A new review of hundreds of scientific studies surrounding glyphosate—the major component of Monsanto's Roundup herbicide— sheds light on its effects within the human body." Debate Surrounding GMO Seeds Heats Up As Supermarkets Start Labeling Ingredients http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/26/gmo-seeds-breakdown-monsanto_n_2958526.html "Ever since genetically modified organisms entered the mainstream in 1996, Alfalfa's has tried to keep them off of its shelves." Watch More: The Lowdown On Gene Patents http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_v8sfc36OtI&list=UUzWQYUVCpZqtN93H8RR44Qw Glowing Plants http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMDiRKootnI&list=UUzWQYUVCpZqtN93H8RR44Qw Lakes Hate You http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czf6_HCc_hk&list=UUsuEirTbevLZiIEOQxcjNXA ____________________ DNews is dedicated to satisfying your curiosity and to bringing you mind-bending stories & perspectives you won't find anywhere else! New videos twice daily. Watch More DNews on TestTube http://testtube.com/dnews Subscribe now! http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=dnewschannel DNews on Twitter http://twitter.com/dnews Anthony Carboni on Twitter http://twitter.com/acarboni Laci Green on Twitter http://twitter.com/gogreen18 Trace Dominguez on Twitter http://twitter.com/trace501 DNews on Facebook http://facebook.com/dnews DNews on Google+ http://gplus.to/dnews Discovery News http://discoverynews.com
03:43
Add to Playlist
Watch Later Added
  • Actions
  • About This Video
Complete video at: http://fora.tv/2009/10/09/Stewart_Brand_Rethinking_Green Genetically engineered foods are "only unnatural if you don't know the biology," says author and futurist Stewart Brand. "There is no good reason for genetically engineered food crops to be controversial." ----- Environmentalist pioneer Stewart Brand talks about his book, Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto, in a discussion at the Long Now Foundation. This program was recorded in San Francisco, CA, on October 9, 2009. Stewart Brand is a co-founder and managing director of Global Business Network, founded and runs the GBN Book Club, and is the president of The Long Now Foundation. Brand is well known for founding, editing and publishing the Whole Earth Catalog (01968-85), which received a National Book Award for the 01972 issue. In 01984, he founded The WELL (Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link), a computer teleconference system for the San Francisco Bay Area. It now has 11,000 active users worldwide and is considered a bellwether of the genre. Brand has been a member of the Board of Trustees of the Santa Fe Institute, an interdisciplinary center studying the sciences of complexity, since 01989. He received the Golden Gadfly Lifetime Achievement Award from the Media Alliance, San Francisco in the same year. He was a founding member of the Board of Directors of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an organization which supports civil rights and responsibilities in electronic media, and is an acting adviser to Ecotrust, Portland-based preservers of temperate rain forest from Alaska to San Francisco. Brand is the author of many pioneering books including The Clock Of The Long Now in 01999, How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They're Built in 01994, The Media Lab: Inventing the Future at MIT in 01987, and Two Cybernetic Frontiers on Gregory Bateson and cutting-edge computer science in 01974. It had the first use of the term "personal computer" in print and was the first book to report on computer hackers.
05:00
Add to Playlist
Watch Later Added
  • Actions
  • About This Video
Complete video at: http://fora.tv/2009/05/05/Michael_Pollan_Deep_Agriculture "The real key to genetic engineering is control of intellectual property of the food crops that we depend on," says author Michael Pollan of companies like Monsanto. He advocates an open source GE model. ----- Farming has become an occupation and cultural force of the past. Michael Pollan's talk promoted the premise -- and hope -- that farming can become an occupation and force of the future. In the past century American farmers were given the assignment to produce lots of calories cheaply, and they did. They became the most productive humans on earth. A single farmer in Iowa could feed 150 of his neighbors. That is a true modern miracle. "American farmers are incredibly inventive, innovative, and accomplished. They can do whatever we ask them, we just need to give them a new set of requirements." - The Long Now Foundation Michael Pollan is the author of The Omnivores Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, a New York Times bestseller. His previous books include The Botany of Desire: A Plants-Eye View of the World (2001); A Place of My Own (1997); and Second Nature (1991). A contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine, Pollan is the recipient of numerous journalistic awards, including the James Beard Award for best magazine series in 2003 and the Reuters-I.U.C.N. 2000 Global Award for Environmental Journalism. Pollan served for many years as executive editor of Harpers Magazine and is now the Knight Professor of Science and Environmental Journalism at UC Berkeley. His articles have been anthologized in Best American Science Writing 2004, Best American Essays 2003, and the Norton Book of Nature Writing. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife, the painter Judith Belzer, and their son, Isaac.
04:00
Add to Playlist
Watch Later Added
  • Actions
  • About This Video
Complete video at: http://fora.tv/2008/02/22/A_Short_History_of_the_American_Stomach Author Fred Kaufman discusses the social, cultural and economic impacts of America's ever-increasing shift towards genetically modified foods. ----- A Short History of the American Stomach with Fred Kaufman. Kaufman takes us on a raucous, witty and fact-filled exploration of America's complex and often bizarre relationship with food. From secret raw-milk covens in New York City to "gastroporn" addicts, Kaufman presents an irreverent take on all aspects of the foodie world. A renowned chronicler of all things gastronomic, Kaufamn's infamous Harper's article, "Debbie Does Salad," which likened the Food Network's camera shots to pornography (he sat down and watched six hours of the network's programming with a porn industry veteran to get her thoughts), generated incredible buzz in the foodie world. In his most recent article for The New York Times Sunday Magazine, Kaufman turned his subversive gaze on the world of pet food - and hit the "most e-mailed" list. In his latest work, Kaufman uncovers Puritan anorexia and bulimia and sheds a completely new light on this issue, as does his subversive take on cookbooks and diet books, his explorations into genetically modified food, and the digestive underpinnings of American imperialism - The Commonwealth Club of California Frederick Kaufman has written about American food culture and other subjects for Harper's Magazine, the New Yorker, Gourmet, Gastronomica, and the New York Times Magazine, among others. He's been a freelancer for years, and published over one-hundred magazine articles, along with three books (Author, A Short History of the American Stomach). He's a contributing editor at Harper's, and teaches at the City University of New York and CUNY's Graduate School of Journalism.
01:47
Add to Playlist
Watch Later Added
  • Actions
  • About This Video
Check out Bas Rutten's Liver Shot on MMA Surge: http://bit.ly/MMASurgeEp1 Mahalo biology expert Mary Poffenroth explains genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. GMOs are creating a lot of news these days, but what exactly they are? GMO is the abbreviated form of "genetically modified organisms," which are found in many food products today. Altering the genomes of animals and plants using traditional breeding techniques is not an unfamiliar process and has been in practice for decades. Selecting desired traits artificially has resulted in a variety of "new" organisms, such as hairless cats and  sweet corn.c However, the use of bacteria and viruses for manipulating food products began in the 1990s with the introduction of genetic modification, or GM. GM involves an assortment of technologies, which result in the alteration of genetic makeup in plants, animals and bacteria.c Functions of GMOs --------------------------------------------------------------------- GMOs were initially introduced with the intention of enhancing the quality and nutrition of food products. In the case of crops, genetically modified organisms create enhancements in quality and taste, reduction of maturation time, increases in the levels of nutrients and stress tolerance, and improved resistance towards pests and diseases. In the case of animals, use of GMOs results in increases in yields of milk, eggs and meat.c c  Effects of GMO --------------------------------------------------------------------- The possible health impacts of GMO on human beings include allergic reactions, transfer of the antibiotic DNA resistance markers and many other unknown effects. The common environmental impacts of genetically modified organisms include accidental transmission of the transgenes by means of cross pollination, disruption of flora and fauna biodiversity and effects on organisms like soil microbes.c Read more by visiting our page at: http://www.mahalo.com/genetically-modified-organisms/
01:07:14
Add to Playlist
Watch Later Added
  • Actions
  • About This Video
Since the early 90's when it was first produced in the US, the value of genetically modified (GM) food has been challenged and debated. In this Longwood Seminar, you will learn about how GM foods are produced and how the process may change in the future. The relative benefits and controversies surrounding GM foods as well as policy issues associated with their production are discussed. Faculty members knowledgeable about GM goods share what is known about the technology and how it may in time be used to address worldwide problems, such as hunger and disease.