GMO stands for genetically modified organism. Humans have been breeding plants and animals for thousands of years and selecting for characteristics they value. That’s how we’ve ended up
with hundreds of breeds of dogs all descended from wild wolves. Genetic modification accelerates the selection of the traits we desire for foods and medicine. Instead of using a process of trial and error over many years to improve the appearance of an apple through traditional breeding, scientists
can now produce apples with desired traits in a single generation by
directly targeting individual genes within the apple genome. These genetically modified crops then undergo extensive scientific review before they’re approved for commercial use to certify that they carry no known health risks. Genetically modified crops currently in commercial use include varieties of corn, soybean and cotton, that offer higher yields with reduced
pesticide and water use. GMOs have the potential to produce more food with fewer resources. There is currently a national dialogue underway about how to label GMO food. Researchers at UConn are studying the economic effects of GMO policies, including the mandatory labeling law and are dedicated to
providing science-based information that is useful and understandable.