Do genetically modified foods tend to be more nutritious than non-GMO foods?

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Q: Do genetically modified foods tend to be more nutritious than non-GMO foods?

Plant breeders use a number of tools – genetic engineering being one of them – to develop new crop varieties with desirable traits. Examples of good traits could include stronger resistance to disease or insects, larger fruit, faster growth, improved tolerance to cold or drought, and so on.

GM crops that have been developed for improved plant traits, such as greater resistance to diseases or improved tolerance to drought, are tested to ensure they are as nutritious as their non-GM counterparts, and do not contain any unintended nutritional differences.

GM plants have also been bred to help make foods better for consumers, for example, to be more nutritious. These varieties are tested to ensure there are no unintended changes to the plant, and that the desired change is good for people. A few examples of GMOs developed to make foods better are listed below:

  • Potatoes: Several new varieties of potatoes have been genetically engineered to reduce the potential production of acrylamide, a suspected carcinogen, when the potato is fried. The new GMO potato also resists bruising. Read more here.
  • Rice: Golden Rice is a biotech variety developed to contain more vitamin A than traditional types of rice. Vitamin A deficiency afflicts millions of children globally, causing poor eyesight, blindness, reduced immune response and other serious afflictions. According to the World Health Organization, some 250 million preschool children do not get enough vitamin A, and as a result, an estimated 250,000 to 500,000 children go blind each year – half of them dying within 12 months of losing their sight. Providing more vitamin A can help improve the health of millions of children. Read more here and here.
  • Soybeans: For consumers interested in heart health, Monsanto has developed a soybean that offers a better-health combination of higher monounsaturated fats, lower saturated fats, zero trans fats and improved stability. You can read more about Vistive Gold soybeans here

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