Are GMOs Safe?

Contributor: Hannah Brooks. Lesson ID: 12527

It is said that there are two sides to every story. When faced with controversy, such as the safety of GMOs, how do you determine which side to come down on? Dig into the facts and make a decision!


Life Science

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8), High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!


The use of biotechnology, especially in modifying food products, is controversial. You will need to decide where you stand. When you are faced with such a big decision, how do you compile evidence and information to help guide your choice?

During the previous Related Lesson of this Biotechnology series, you learned how biotechnology can be applied to medicine, agriculture, and product development.

By the way, if you missed or need to review the Related Lessons of this series, you can find them both in the right-hand sidebar.

Genetic modification has also been a very controversial topic in relation to our food products. Foods with genetic modification involving gene splicing were introduced to the consumer market in 1994 and have grown in use since that time. Gene splicing occurs when genes from one organism are inserted into another.

This process can be used to create crops that are pest-, drought-, and temperature-resistant. These characteristics make them able to survive in changing environments, thereby increasing food availability for the growing human population, as represented in the following chart from WikiMedia Commons:

world population growth chart

Image licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

However, some people argue that GMOs are not safe for human consumption. These individuals claim that GMOs can cause harm to human body systems like the digestive system.

human digestive system

These food products have not been tested on humans, only on animals. This practice makes it really challenging to determine the true impact of GMOs on human body systems. Other developed countries in the world have banned GMOs from food, but the United States and Canada allow GMO food products.

  • What are some of your initial concerns about genetically-modified foods?
  • What questions do you have about the impact on human body systems?

Discuss these questions with a parent or teacher before moving on to the Got It? section, where you will compile a bank of evidence to support an argument for or against genetically-modified food products.

Elephango's Philosophy

We help prepare learners for a future that cannot yet be defined. They must be ready for change, willing to learn and able to think critically. Elephango is designed to create lifelong learners who are ready for that rapidly changing future.