Genetically Modified Organisms

Traits and Uses

Previously, we touched upon what introducing new DNA into an organism can do. Now that we know that a GMO, in relation to agriculture, is the change in the way the fruit grows, we must ask, why is this necessary.

There are many reasons as to why GM crops are useful, but there are three traits that are the most valued for their benefits. These traits are important for all types of food producers including farmers, because it allows them to save more of their money and time.

  1. Insect Resistance
    “An insect-resistant (IR) trait incorporates insecticidal properties into a plant itself” (National Academies of Sciences, 2016, p. 76). Instead of spraying the plants with insecticides, the plant itself already carries DNA that will either deter or kill an insect after it has consumed it so that it does not eat more.
  2. Virus Resistance
    “Virus resistance prevents a plant from being susceptible to specific viral diseases” (National Academies of Sciences, 2016, p. 80). A plant is injected with a non-harmful DNA sample of the virus that counteracts the effect if it were to come into contact with it, similar to a flu shot.
  3. Herbicide Resistance
    “A herbicide-resistant (HR) trait allows a [genetically engineered] crop to survive application of a herbicide that would otherwise damage or kill a susceptible plant” (National Academies of Sciences, 2016, p. 76). A farmer can spray herbicides to kill weeds and the crop will still thrive.


Anti-bacteria photo.                    Anti-pest photograph.

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