Remember to Mark Up the Text
and to Read the Questions First
You're eating genetically modified
By James Freeman
There’s no escape. You are consuming a lot of genetically modified food.
The milk on your Cheerios thi
s morning came from a genetically modified cow,
and the Cheerios themselves featured genetically modified whole grain. At lunch
you’ll enjoy french fries from genetically modified potatoes and perhaps a bucket
of genetically modified fried chicken.
ing you eat is the result of genetic modification. When a rancher in
Wyoming selected his best bull to mate with a certain cow to produce the calf that
ultimately produced the milk on your breakfast table, he was
Sounds delicious, doesn’t i
t? Sorry, but you get the point.
Long before you were ever born, farmers were splicing genes,
ting seeds to create more robust
that grew larger and lived longer
Genetic modification used to be called "breeding," and people have been doing i
Thomas Jefferson did it at
his home in Virginia
, as he
experimented in his gardens with literally hundreds of varieties of fruits and
Anyway, to return to the topic at hand, breeding isn’t a scary word, so
oppose technology call it "genetic modification."
They want to argue
that biotechnology, which is just better breeding tool, is a threat to our lives,
instead of the blessing that it is.
Have you ever seen corn in its natural state without genetic modific
It’s disgusting. We’re t
alking about that nasty
colored garbage used in
Thanksgiving displays. The environmentalists should eat that the next time they
want to criticize bio
In fact, the environmentalists are waging a very success
against biotechnology, especially in Europe where they’ve convinced
governments to ban "genetically modified" foods. Even in the United States,
where we generally like technology and its possibilities, the fear is spreading. Not
because of som
e horrible event related to the food supply, but because of more
arguments from the environmentalists. In fact, you’ve been enjoying foods made
better by biotechnology for most of the last decade. And the news is all good
lower prices and more abundant f
As for the future, the potential to help humans is enormous. Right now,
according to the World Health Organization, more than a million kids die every
year because they do not have Vitamin A in their diets. Millions more become
blind. WHO estimates th
at more than a billion people suffer from iron deficiency,
which affects their red blood cells. What if we could develop rice or corn plants
with all of the essential vitamins for children?
Still, the critics want to talk about how dangerous genetically mo
crops are. The Environmental Protection Agency wants to regulate the use of
engineered corn seeds because they include a resistance to pests.
Specifically, the seeds are bred to include a toxin called BT that kills little
d corn borers, so farmers don’t need to spray pesticides.
Turns out, according to the EPA, that the BT toxin in the corn can kill
butterflies, too. The butterflies don’t eat corn, but the EPA is afraid that the corn
pollen will blow over and land on a milk
weed and stick to it and then confused
Monarch caterpillars will accidentally eat the pollen.
It is not exactly the end of the world, but it sounds bad. That is until you
consider the alternatives. According to Professor Nina Fedoroff, "A pesticide
from a plane onto a field is going to kill a lot more insects than will be
killed by an in
Of course, the anti
tech crowd will say that they don’t like pesticides
either. They promote organic farming
meaning we use more land to produce our
food, and we clear more wilderness. We also pay more for food. Maybe that’s not
a problem for you or me, but it’s bad news for the millions of malnourished kids
around the world.
Says Fedoroff, "I think that most people living in cities don't have a cl
about how tough it is to grow enough food for the human population in
competition with bacteria, fungi, insects and animals and when there are droughts
That may be true, but I do think that most Americans understand the
of technology. This is why they’ll ultimately reject the scare
campaign against biotechnology.
1) What does the author mostly suggest about genetically modified food
when he writes “They want to argue that biotechnology, which is just a better
l, is a threat to our lives, instead of the blessing that it is”?
2) In this passage, the word
3) According to the article, which of these sentences supports the author’s
opinion about organic farming?
a) Organic farming is healthier for the environment
Organic farming will cause all childr
en to be malnourished
Organic farming will create a
ater interest in the wilderness
Organic farming will negatively
affect the environment.
4) What does the word “varieties” mean as it is used in the third paragraph?
According to the article, does organic farming use pesticides?
What kind of corn does the auth
or suggest that environmentalists eat if
they do not like genetically modified foods?
According to the author, what are four examples of how genetically
modified foods could help human health?
a) lower prices, more food, Vitamin C included in food, more
b) lower prices, plentiful food, Vitamin A included in food, iron enriched crops
c) elevated prices, scarce food, Vitamin A included in food, iron depleted crops
d) fewer bugs in food, more food, Vitamin C included in food, more attractive
8) What does the word
mean as it is used in the 6
According to the 8
paragraph, will farmers use more or less pesticides
when they use corn with the BT toxin genetically added?
Does the author admit the difference between selective breeding and
genetically modified foods? What proof do you have?
) Does the author have a positive or negative view of the Environmental
Protection Agency? What proof do you have?
ease write a
t least a
7 sentence persuasive paragraph arguing that
Genetically Modified Foods are
d for humans. Please use at least 3 quotes
from the article.