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Agricultural Members Meet To Discuss Pros and Cons of GMOs

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The government predicts food prices will rise 3.5% this year. One solution was discussed today as agricultural community members met to discuss the pros and cons of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The government predicts food prices will rise 3.5% this year.  Today, agricultural community members met in Springfield to discuss genetically modified organisms (GMOs).  They say GMOs show promise in reducing food costs.

A recent survey showed GMOs are something most people have a lot of misconceptions about.  GMOs are the result of changes to an organisms DNA, which does not involve spraying chemicals. 

The DNA can be altered so the organism is more resistant to insects.  This can result in increased yield, which helps keep food costs down and feed our growing world population.

GMOs are often designed to reduce the amount of pesticides needed.  This has environmental benefits regarding soil conservation and water quality.

Scientific groups, such as the World Health Organization, have reviewed the literature regarding the health and safety of eating GMOs. Experts say, at this point, all of the data suggests they are safe for human consumption. 

However, there are also concerns about GMOs.  We've only been using them for a couple decades.  Experts say because this practice is so new, we don't fully know all of the potential consequences.

One negative consequence is that something called "superweeds" have developed.  Essentially, these are weeds that cannot be killed.  Experts say they are becoming a big concern.  These superweeds reduce the quality of famers' crops by competing for sunlight, water, and nutrients.

Critics also say that gmos can result in new allergic reactions in the human body.  Other critics point out the ethical risks involved in changing an organisms genetic make-up.

"I do think there's a tremendous amount of potential utilizing this technology, but I do think there is a certain amount of risk that folks need to be aware of as well," says Jeff Thornsberry, Associate Professor at Northwest Missouri State University.
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