Date of this Version
Cornhusker Economics, March 1, 1999, agecon.unl.edu/cornhuskereconomics
Public response to genetically modified organisms, GMOs, has prompted concern about the market for GMOs and non-GMOs. Proponents argue that GMOs are safe and consumers and producers will benefit from GMOs. However, all technology has some risk. The risks that opposition groups are concerned about are wide ranging. There is concern that gene transfer itself is undesirable and could have some unintended effects on the genetic material. Others have environmental concerns. Some of the opposition to herbicide-ready soybeans, for example, derives from a concern that additional herbicide may be used with GMOs. Similarly, Bt corn may have some negative effects on beneficial insects. There are counter arguments put forward by proponents, for example, that if Bt corn weren't available, insecticides would cause more damage to beneficial insects than will Bt corn, and that the risk of a gene insertion having negative results has to be weighed against the benefits of greater food production.