Tag Archives: GMO crops

Reflection of Mark Lynas lecture on Farming in 2013 Oxford

I watched a movie today that Mark Linus talked about why he changed his mind from an anti-GMO to support GMO in 2013 Oxford conference. Before I watch Mark Lynas’ s speech, I have heard about many countries opposed GMO. There are many concerns about the GMO will pollute GenBank of whether organism’ s or our human’ s in nature. Some claims that GMO is against to God, or human has no right to change the nature. The thing surprised me is how those people opposed GMO. In Kenya, if you plant GMO crop, you will be sent to prison for 10 years, even though GMO crop have higher yield. People refuse science because of religion. I can’t imagine that thing happens in the 21th centuries. It recalled me the conflict between geocentric theory and heliocentric theory. The global population are growing, and it need the innovative and advanced technology to improve the yield of crops. The anti-GMO organizations support organic food, they believe organic food are healthier. But it has been proven that organic food is not healthier than other food and it is expensive and has a low yield. In the other word, the GMO crop can have higher yield in less land, pesticide, time, and money. If there is a ban for GMO all over the world, millions of people will be died by starving, and more land, like rain forests, will be used to grow crops. I do not think that will be a good result.

Identify GMO Crops

Most people don’t know but there are only 10 genetically modified crops. The 10 genetically modified crops available today are alfalfa, apples, canola, corn, cotton, papaya, potatoes, soybeans, squash and sugar beets. The efforts to genetically modify these crops focus on expressing positive traits that support the quality of the crop and improving resistance to pests and weather conditions.

The list below shows the year the GMO crop was launched

  • Squash, 1995
  • Cotton, 1996
  • Soybean, 1995
  • Corn, 1996
  • Papaya, 1997
  • Alfalfa, 2006
  • Sugar beets, 2006
  • Canola, 1999
  • Potato, 2016
  • Apples, 2017

So the next time you are in a grocery store and are distraught over which pasta to purchase because the labels are overwhelming remember there isn’t a GMO wheat crop.

Genetically Modified Crops

There are 10 genetically modified crops commercially sold in The United States. These crops include alfalfa, apples, canola, corn, cotton, papaya, potatoes, soybeans, squash, and sugar beets. The reason that these crops are genetically modified are varied.  These reasons include to prevent crops from browning, herbicide tolerance, blight resistance, drought tolerance, disease resistance, insect resistance, and low acrylamide. What really surprised me was that fact that most of these crops were genetically modified in the 90s and early 2000s. I did not realize that we had the technology to genetically modify crops at that time. Although there are only 10 crops genetically modified sold commercially in the Untied States these crops are used in order to make many other foods. I am very glad that I looked closer in to genetically modified crops and what specific crops are genetically modified. To be honest I thought there were than 10 crops that were genetically modified. None the less, I am very interested in furthering my knowledge on this topic.

Number of GMO Crops

There are about ten main crops that are genetically modified, that are grown and available in the United States, according to Time Magazine.  These crops are corn, soybeans, potatoes, papaya, cotton, squash, canola, alfalfa, apples, and sugar beets. All of these crops have been deregulated and approved for production by the USDA, FDA, and in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Agency.  Corn and soybeans are the most highly produced GMO crops, with thirty three different species of genetically modified corn and twenty different species of genetically modified soybeans. GMO corn is used for many different applications. Mostly the corn is used to feed livestock, however it is also used in processed foods in the form of cornstarch and high fructose corn syrup.  A smaller amount of this corn is used for bio-fuel production. The soybeans are also used mostly for feed, but a large percentage is used for vegetable oil. About sixty percent of vegetable oil is soybean oil. Soybeans are also used in processed foods such as candy.


Johnson, David, and Siobhan O’Connor. “Genetically Modified Foods: What Is Grown and Eaten in the U.S.” Time, Time, 30 Apr. 2015, time.com/3840073/gmo-food-charts/.

Mark Lynas at 2013 Oxford Farming Conference

During a 2013 conference on farming Mark Lynas spoke about GMOs. Mark Lynas originally was against GMOs and was publicly speaking against them. He thought they were run by large corporations and only benefited the rich. Mark said that this was not the case and that many small and local farmers benefited from GMOs. Mark also said that one of the reasons he did not support GMOs was because he thought they used more pesticides. He later found out that this was also not the case and genetically modified agriculture used less pesticides than non-modified types of agriculture. He has now switched his view points on this matter. He has done his research and truly believes that GMOs will play a crucial role in feeding a rapidly increasing  human population. Mark stated that by 2050 there would be around 9.5 billion people on the earth and that we would have to increase our current agriculture production by over 100%. He also said that one of common myths people believe for why the human population is growing is because developing and poor nations are having a lot of babies. He went on to say that this not entirely true. The main reason the human population is rapidly growing is due to the increase in medical care. Today more and more kids are making past childhood and reproducing. Mark said that there are a around 2 billion children around the world who will be responsible for the 9.5 billion human population. Overall I found this video insightful and shining light on some myths that I thought were true.

Mark Lynas and GMO’s

Mark Lynas was one of the co-founding members of the anti-GMO’s that began campaigning back in the late 1990’s about how GMO’s are so dangerous and could be leading to the use of more chemicals in the crops now. But during the time he was writing his book he pulled a full 180 an began to relies that the dangers in the GMO’s are really not the more people have gotten sick from actually eating Organic food’s. Which don’t get treated with anything to help prevent pests or the disease in from attacking the plant. When he realized that the GMO plant’s didn’t have any backlash of people getting sick from his research and that they actually wont be spraying as many chemicals because the seeds and plants are able to defend themselves from the pests or disease.

Also he realized if we don’t continue to use these GMO’s the world will run out of food because organic farmers wont be able to keep up with the demands of crops needing to be produced. Where GMO’s are making the yields much higher for farmers that have minimal area to work with due to the increase of people in the country’s.

For all of these reasons that Mark talked about in this video he gave me more info to throw at people when they argue that GMO’s are bad and they hurt people. I can actually give evidence that Mark used it this video and back myself up. Also it keeps me still believing that GMO’s are not bad still because if it wasn’t for the crops we probably would have extremely expensive crops in the stores because there would be to much bad media behind GMO’s.

Mark Isaacs’s Lecture on Biotechnology in Agriculture

Biotechnology is so widely debated everywhere on our planet. He gave us a great overview and information into what biotechnology is and some of the concerns about it. It is crazy to think that biotechnology started thousands of years ago and people still have fears about it. Gregor Mendel helped figure out laws of inheritance. Biotechnology is a great tool to be able to make genetic changes to a plant and to put traits in them such as pest resistance. It can improve crop yield by being able to put a resistant gene into the plant to help the crops grow without damage from environmental conditions. Without biotechnology, our growing population would run out of food. Biotechnology allows farmers to improve yields with the same amount of land. People are just concerned because it is not a natural process. Hopefully, the world can resolve this issue in time to feed the next generations to come.

GMO Food Labels

States such as Vermont are demanding that foods now be labeled as to whether or not they contain GMO’s; this has been a controversial debate the affects many parties such as farmers, food companies, and consumers. Many consumers want these labels although studies have shown many people are still confused about what GMO’s are and many aren’t aware that non GMO foods still contain genes. Though there is no evidence to support the claim that GMO foods cause harm, many consumers are against them or are skeptical, therefore labeling everything that is a GM food or not could hurt food companies. The companies don’t want people to see the label and assume their not safe or not as healthy. Many are also under the assumption that non GMO means it is also organic, healthier, and tastes better, although none are true. If trends begin to lean more to non GMO it could hurt the farmers that don’t have the money or resources to switch. However food labeling does help consumers make decisions that aligns with their personal beliefs and preferences. This could lead to a stronger trust between producers and consumers because they feel more informed. This could also lead to niche markets, which in many cases consumers will pay more for.

Should food be labeled?

Food labeling is a topic that is being debated by farmers and states. Many states such as Maine and Connecticut have passed laws that require such labeling if other nearby states put one into effect. Vermont is the first state to require such labeling. This can be a huge impact on food companies because of the negative opinions that consumers have about GMO’s. Not only that, but the cost of labeling products is extremely expensive and can be a confusing process. Labels may be eye-catching for consumers, but are actually stigmatizing healthy foods. GMO’s are necessary, but many people lack the education about GMO’s which in turn means that they fear what they don’t know. This is dangerous because this can lead to the spread of false information and a pandemonium that has no basis in anything of knowledge. GMO laws will cost consumers billions of dollars. For example, the Vermont GMO law will cost Maryland consumers a total of $1,564,040,500 a year and Maryland families an average of $1,082 a year. Labeling is not necessary and is costing consumers and food production companies money that should be used for other necessary things. Labels are often misinterpreted, which means that consumers are buying things thinking that the label means one thing, when in reality, it means something totally different.

Industry and Agriculture: An Innovative Partnership

Our class was fortunate to have technology development representative David Mayonado lecture about Industry and Agriculture. This lecture was different than most others we have had because it comes from the perspective of someone who has worked his entire career for an agricultural force: Monsanto. Dr. Mayonado made it abundantly clear during his lecture that GMO safety has been proven repeatedly and GM crops are no riskier than conventional options. I found it interesting that companies like Whole Foods and Chipotle employ more people than Monsanto. Dr. Mayonado also described how crops are not only modified, but now specific traits in genes can be manipulated. Imagining traits in a specific crop able to turn on and off like a light switch is truly incredible and certainly seems to be the future of GM crops. Before the semester I was very skeptical of Monsanto due to my lack of knowledge and the companies often demonized public image. Dr. Mayonado’s lecture was able to shed light on what exactly GM crops are and their benefits in a global society.

GM is Sustainable and Environmentally Friendly

GM, otherwise known as “Genetically Modified,” is a term consumers fear. Mark Lynas a spokesperson for the Environment bashed GM for years and created many movements on this topic. One day, he took it upon himself to research climate change and later GM. Later realizing the numerous benefits GM had to offer our growing population. In a video “Mark Lynas 2013 Oxford Farming Conference” (https://vimeo.com/56745320) he touches on this very topic.

GM crops not only allow our generation to be sustainable while feeding the hungry and poor, it also benefits our environment. GM’s allows for less pesticide use, while saving producers seeds because of they hybrid use, they are safer than conventional breeding and are roundup ready which means that less chemicals are being spread, just to name a few benefits.

Environmentally we are producing more with less. This means a smaller need for greenhouses and their emissions. Therefore, rainforest’s and other natural areas will not be destroyed and used for agriculture. GM offers a better way to manage nitrogen, furthermore keeping pollution to a minimum. Another benefit to the environment is the ability to make drought-resistant seed, as a result we can use less available water.

We as consumers need to be proactive and interested. GM is how we will feed our growing population; do you want people to starve? Research has proven no harm, sickness or diseases to animals or humans who have consumed GM food. Now you must do your part to educate yourself with scientific research to stay sustainable and save the environment.


Mark Lynas and GMO’s

What do you think of his position? Does he make a case for his change of heart and the way he now views GMOs?

GMO’s will always be a constant controversial topic because of the idea that farmers and corporations are essentially changing the physiology of a plant. When an audience reads about GMO’s, they often form an opinion based on the headline of an article, of the opinions of others, and most of the times these headlines and opinions are extremely misleading. To fully form an opinion, whether that be for or against GMO’s, the reader must become informed through different scientifically based arguments. Mark Lynas explains that before he changed his opinion on GMO’s, he found himself constantly defending himself using scientific arguments for other types of controversial subjects. He realized that if he was backing up his arguments with scientific data, why wasn’t he doing that with GMO’s. He developed his opinion because of the preconceived idea that all corporations are lying, scheming, money hungry entities that only look out for themselves. After realizing that he may not be correct in the way he formed his opinion, he decided to research and look at the scientific data. His initial belief was that GMO’s required more pesticide and insecticide, however, he realized that because many GMO’s such as pest-resistance cotton and maize actually require little to no pesticide. He realized that most of his arguments had no basis and he once he realized the facts, he changed his opinion drastically. Once he changed his opinion, he was then able to argue with facts instead of baseless statements. His current position is what I believe to be correct. GMO’s are essential in developing countries. GMO’s allow small farmers to create bigger yields with a small input and help feed rural villages. Without GMO’s, many under-developed countries would struggle to feed their community members.

The GMO controversy

In January, 2013, environmentalist and author Mark Lynas, a self-proclaimed founder and activist for Europe’s anti-GMO (he uses the term GM) movement, spoke before the annual Oxford (UK) Farming Conference and announced a 180 degree change in his opinion about GMOs, and disassociated himself with the anti GMO movement (whom he calls “antis”) that he helped grow into a successful protest movement. His remarks, recorded and presented below,  explain his reasons for his change in attitude.  Read the >>>Transcript Mark Lynas 2013 Oxford Farming Conference.

Mark Lynas
Click the image above to play the video


The use of genetically modified organisms, commonly referred to as GMOs, is highly controversial topic. Lynas’s  speech, the transcription of which can be found on his website (if you’d like to read along), sent shock waves across the agricultural sector and has received world-wide attention.

What do you think of his position? Does he make a case for his change of heart and the way he now views GMOs?

Mark Lynas and the GMO Controversy

I think the speech that Mark Lynas gave at the 2013 Oxford Farming Conference is very informative and interesting. His updated views on Genetically Modified Organisms ,or GMs as he calls them, are extremely relevant to today’s society.  His current position, that GMs are beneficial and not harmful, is something that more people need to come to terms with instead of blindly opposing. Mark Lynas honestly admits that he was wrong in his previous stance on GM’s and that he did not actually know the facts behind his opinion, but just followed other people’s ideas.

Mark Lynas’ complete 180 change of heart was sparked by one comment on his anti-GM Guardian article from a critic who said,

“so you’re opposed to GM on the basis that it is marketed by big corporations. Are you also opposed to the wheel because because it is marketed by the big auto companies?”

That was all it took for Lynas to do some research and realize his views were incorrect all along. In his third book, The God Species, he was able to take a look at the bigger picture on a planetary scale instead of basic environmentalist orthodoxy that so many people believe. Lynas brings up points throughout his speech such as the fact that we are going to have to feed 9.5 billion people on the amount of land we use today while using limited resources. The truth is that organic food and the way food is produced today is not going to be enough to feed all of those people. GMs provide the opportunity to grow food with more nutrients, stability, and resistance to insects and disease without the use of so many pesticides.

With the world’s “trendy” idea that GMO’s are bad and organics are so healthy and beneficial, Lynas’ speech is something that needs to be shared and understood. The population needs to stop being afraid of change and instead must open their minds to the facts and try to understand the truth about GMO’s.