Author (Your Name)

Carina WallackFollow

Date of Award

2017

Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)

Department

Colby College. Science, Technology and Society Program

Advisor(s)

James Fleming

Second Advisor

Gail Carlson

Third Advisor

Travis Reynolds

Abstract

The use of genetically modified crops (also called GM crops, genetically modified organisms, or GMOs for short) has become a highly contested issue. New genetic modification technologies offer a variety of advantages for improving agricultural efficiency. However, some scientists argue that the safety testing conducted thus far does not provide enough information and worry about possible health and ecological risks. Private industry sponsors a great deal of research on genetically modified crops. As the international controversy regarding the use of GMOs has unfolded, the very companies responsible for commercializing genetically modified crops have gained substantial influence in the resulting scientific and political debates. Through an examination of the prevalence of conflicts of interest in scientific studies regarding the safety of GMO crops and an analysis of funding sources for university agricultural research, I investigate the impact of industry sponsorship on the integrity of GMO crop research. Using case studies, I explore the complexities of the ongoing debates between industry-affiliated scientists and non-affiliated scientists, some of who express concerns about potential negative consequences of genetically modified crops.

Keywords

GMOs, genetically modified crops, industry, industry funding, research integrity, conflicts of interest