Document Type

Master's Culminating Experience

Publication Date



Since Watson and Crick discovered the “double helix” in 1953, the arguments about the benefits and danger of genetic modification remain largely unanswered, particularly in the relation to food supply. Today, genetic modification or genetic engineering are global issues. Governments, scientific organizations, corporations, research institutions, and scholars hotly dispute the advantages and disadvantages of GM technology. However, unfortunately, the population at large is left in darkness about this new technology and its consequences for human health, environment and society. Moreover, genetic engineering creates a special problem: unlike many new technologies it is irreversible. Once introduced into the food chain, GM gene is hard and costly to trace and impossible to revert. The long-term outlook can be devastating: unleashed and unmanageable GM traits will forever change our food, nature and, thus, ourselves.

Analytical models and the field data raise alarming questions about the long-term effects of GM on human health, coexistence of different farming methods, extinction of certain species, disruption of the food chain, pollen cross-contamination, new allergies, mutations, new diseases, disadvantaged communities, inability to practice religions and beliefs, etc.

The results of this study are alarming: long-term effects of the rapidly diffusing technology of genetic modification are largely unknown, short-term effects are disagreed upon, and there are no signs of large societal benefit to date of this technology. This brings the question: Are biotech’s perceived benefits worth the exposure to a potential large-scale catastrophe?