Pros and Cons

In the table below you will find some of the important advantages and disadvantages of genetic engineering. You will realize that each benefit has a negative aspect. Basically, by modifying the genes, we can improve a condition at the cost of another. The modification of a specimen and its later introduction to the environment can negatively impact the nature.



Faster Growth Rate Animals and plants can be genetically modified to promptly mature. For example, crops can be engineered to increase crop yield. There are crops being engineered to survive unfavorable conditions such as high heat or low light.  This gives farmers the ability to expand beyond the traditional locations and use the empty lands for other purpose. Animals can also be genetically modified to improve production. Diary cows can be engineered to produce more milk; sheep can grow wool faster; and animals bred for their meat can be engineered to grow bigger and faster (Pros and Cons of Genetic Engineering, 2014). Less Nutritional Value Concerns regarding the nutritional value of the products stems from the fact that some products can grow big and quickly at the cost of decreasing their nutritional value.
Pest-resistant and Extended Life This genetic modification is mainly executed in plants. The animal or plant ‘s genes are altered to make them perdurable and resistant to pests and diseases. Plants being cultivated can have built in pest repellents which help reduce the need for harmful chemicals and other pesticides that cause damage to the water supply (Pros and Cons of Genetic Engineering, 2014).


Figure 5: Pest-resistant Crops.

Risky Pathogens Viruses and bacteria adapt to the environment. If a bacteria cannot get through the natural repellent of the genetically altered plant, there is a possibility that these viruses and bacteria will grow stronger and more resistant negatively affecting non genetically engineered plants/animals.
New Foods Currently, we can create new types of plants and animals by combining genes from different species. Scientists are taking a potato or soybean and giving the crop more nutrients to increase its value.


Figure 6: Anti GE Poster. Source:





Negative Side Effects The goal of genetic engineering is to solve an issue by transferring genes to the organism that will help combat the problem.  Sometimes, this can cause side effects.  For example, you can modify a plant to need less water, but that would make it intolerant to direct sunlight (Pros and Cons of Genetic Engineering, 2014).

Unfavorable Diversity Genetically engineered species that reach the wild can have a negative impact on the domestic species. Since species that have been modified tend to be stronger, unmodified species would soon disappear because of the introduction of modified species. This would result in a decreased diversity.

Watch the following videos about the pros and cons of genetic engineering: