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University of Bristol
Wellcome Trust
Recommended by:
Society of Biology
PEEP for Physics & Ethics at GCSE

Genetically Modified Crops

Potential benefits & risks - a summary

The ethical issues around GM crop technology are all very closely linked together, however they broadly fit into three areas:

  • health
  • environment
  • social/economic/political effects

Benefits and potential benefits
claimed  by GM supporters

Potential risks claimed
by GM opponents

Could help to feed the developing world

Will not be able to feed the world

GM crops are more cost-effective

Could damage organic farmers

Could benefit human health

May have unpredictable health risks

Could reduce pesticide and herbicide use

Could increase herbicide and pesticide use

Could help preserve natural habitats

Could reduce biodiversity


Mainly benefit big biotech companies

Raises ethical conflicts over the control of 
food production.

Task: Work out how each of the points in the table above connect to the three categories in the opening paragraph.

Task: Read the pages in this GM Crops section and find information to support each of the points in the table.

Not throwing out the baby with the bathwater

Any technology can be used for 'good' or 'bad'. Nuclear physics has led to both weapons to destroy and new forms of medicine to heal. GM crop technology is no different. Thus it is important to ask whether GM technology is in itself a problem, or whether it is specific applications of it that give rise to moral concerns.


Next: What are the main uses of GM crop technology so far ?


What's your opinion?

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Current rating: 5/5 (from 2 votes cast)

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NOT RATED Biolover365 07-11-08 03:24
i 28-01-11 12:53
so do i
NOT RATED Piers Lockhart 03-03-11 14:30
A 2008 review published by the Royal Society of Medicine noted that GM foods have been eaten by millions of people worldwide for over 15 years, with no reports of ill effects.
NOT RATED kenna pritchard 30-03-12 11:15
poor.. not good enough
Emihol 30-04-12 12:20
This is very useful and informative! thankyou
NOT RATED Emihol 30-04-12 12:20
This is very useful and informative! thankyou
NOT RATED Anon. 09-02-14 21:58
why aren't there answers for this homework!!! 2014s
NOT RATED mike hunt 26-08-15 04:28
very informative and makes you think about the religious side of it