Genetically modified organisms. Many of us have heard the term, but how much do you really know about GMOs, the health risks they cause, and how to avoid them? Test your knowledge by taking the quiz and getting the right answers!
1. True or False?
The only GMO crop is corn.
2. True or False?
The two main traits that genetically modified foods have are the production of their own insecticide and resistance to herbicides that kill other plants.
3. True or False?
The terms “genetically modified” and “genetically engineered” mean different things.
4. True or False?
In the process of genetic modification, biotechnologists often use viruses and bacteria to enter plant cells and introduce foreign genes.
5. True or False?
The only sweetener that may contain genetically modified organisms is corn syrup.
6. True or False?
No cases of disease have been reported by people who consumed genetically modified foods.
7. True or False?
There are only two health risks associated with the consumption of GM foods – infertility and diseases of the reproductive system.
1. False. Cottonseed, soybeans, sugar beet sugar, papaya (grown in the US), squash, and alfalfa are also commonly genetically modified crops.
2. True. Products are genetically modified so they can make their own insecticide or tolerate herbicides that kill other plants.
3. False. “Genetically modified” and “genetically engineered” mean the same thing – changing genes or introducing genes from one organism into another. These terms are interchangeable.
4. True. Viruses and bacteria have the ability to enter cells, so one of the key ways that biotechnologists overcome the natural barriers that genes create to prevent the genetic material of other species from entering is through the use of some type of bacteria or virus.
5. False. Yes, over 80% of corn sweeteners are genetically modified, but GMOs also contain sugar, which is usually a combination of sugar from sugar cane and sugar from genetically modified sugar beets.
6. False. In 2000, there were reports in America of people who became ill or suffered severe allergic reactions after eating tacos made from genetically modified corn called StarLink, which was not approved for consumption; this happened before nationwide product reviews were released. In 1989, more than 1000 people became ill or disabled, and about 100 Americans died after taking L-tryptophan supplements from one company that used genetically engineered bacteria to manufacture its products.
7. False. Infertility and diseases of the reproductive system are major health risks associated with the consumption of GM foods, but there are many others. These include immune system problems, accelerated aging, insulin and cholesterol dysregulation, organ damage, and gastrointestinal disease, according to the American Academy of Environmental Medicine.