GMO is simply a designation that stands for Genetically Modified Organism. It can refer to a plant, animal, or any living organism whose genes have been modified via genetic engineering. It can be applied to food or fibers that make up textiles. Sometimes scientists will want to modify a plant to produce a larger crop or suck up less groundwater. Animals might receive gene editing to be more muscular and become more valuable to butchers.

There is a lot of negative press about GMOs, which are often pitted against organic crops and pasture-raised animals. The truth is, as with so many inventions, GMOs can be used for good or for ill. Some GMO corn seeds are given away for free and feeds whole villages, some GMO corn seeds are copyrighted and small farmers get sued by agricultural giants if their corn accidentally cross pollinates with the GMO sees from the farms next door. GMO crops aren’t inherently good or bad, it all has to do with how we use it.

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