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What Are the Pros and Cons of Genetically Modified Papayas?

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  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
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  • Last Modified Date: 23 November 2016
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The pros and cons of genetically modified papayas are the subject of debate. As a whole, genetically modified foods are usually resistant to certain insects and other infestations. The cons have primarily to do with the fact that these foods have not been proven safe over the long term, so there are some environmental groups and health organization who believe that genetically modified foods could be harmful to human health when consumed in large amounts.

Genetically modified papayas were developed to be resistant to the papaya ringspot virus, which can be devastating to crops of the plant. They have been developed, and, at the time of this writing are available in a variety of countries. There are still more nations that haven't jumped on the bandwagon, but officials in the industry are trying to determine what steps need to be taken to make them more widely available. Many of the countries where genetically modified papayas were first sold are industrialized, with developing nations being amongst those lagging behind.

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There is heavy debate on the production and distribution of genetically modified papayas and other foods. On the one hand, an ability to grow more crops without fear of viruses and other pathogens destroying the plants means that more food can be grown overall. More food grown, means that there is more to go around. This is an important aspect of the debate, since the world's population is growing, and conventional crops may not be fruitful enough to feed everyone indefinitely.

On a small scale, less crop loss means farmers can earn more money to support their own families through sales of the crops. This is very important for growers who may be struggling financially due to widespread crop losses. In terms of papayas, papaya ringspot virus can be very devastating, and can wipe out entire crops.

The primary downside to using genetically modified papayas, and other engineered foods, is that they have not been proven safe over the long term. Some health organizations claim that the risks to human health are great, and that all genetically altered foods should be banned for supermarket shelves. Others argue that they are equally as safe and healthy as more conventionally grown crops. The truth of the matter may not be known for some time.

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Discuss this Article

anon994050
Post 6

Steven Druker's book "Altered Genes, Twisted Truth" does not specifically discuss papaya as far as I know, but it does provide a wealth of information about genetic engineering and the ways in which it may be risky. Look up the book for online reviews and commentary.

anon946699
Post 5

Most people who are against GMO foods also express outrage if anybody has doubts about global warming. There is no scientific evidence that GMO foods cause adverse health effects. We've been eating GMO corn and soybeans for years, now.

Science points to a high likelihood that the planet is warming. Science also says GMO is safe for consumption. Science says vaccinate your children.

You can't pick and choose your science, folks.

SteamLouis
Post 4

I don't know why some people are so against genetically modified or genetically engineered foods. Pesticides are bad for health too, but farmers still use them to protect crops from insects. We get more produce that way and this also keeps prices lower.

I don't think that genetically modified foods are too different. If it weren't for this advancement, perhaps there would be little or no papayas in the world. All of the crop would be wiped out by viruses. So I think that genetically modifying foods is a good idea and its benefits outweigh the risks.

bear78
Post 3

@SarahGen-- I'm not an expert on genetically modified foods but as far as I know, there is some initial evidence of these foods negatively affecting certain organs. Some animal studies have shown that these foods can have toxic effects in the body. Since more studies are required, the risks of genetically engineered foods are still up for debate.

My personal opinion is that it's okay to have them in moderation but we should not make them a part of our routine diet. We still need to find out if these foods are dangerous or not.

SarahGen
Post 2

What are the health risks of genetically modified foods exactly? I keep hearing that they are bad but no one is really explaining why.

Rundocuri
Post 1

Though the fact that papayas have been genetically modified has allowed more availability of this fruit for consumers, concerns about side effects of the process still exist. No one really knows what changing the genetic make up of foods will lead to in the future.

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