GM-OK?

A new study reveals that GMOs aren't necessarily dangerous, but weed killer is

GMOs are confusing and controversial, to say the least. As the debates over use and labeling heat up, a new report published Tuesday by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine brings new information to light. GMOs aren't harmful to people, the study concludes.

After examining more than 1,000 studies, the academic committee conducting the research found that genetically modified food is not proven to lead to increases in cancer, obesity or allergies, among other illnesses.

Though this may be one of the most comprehensive studies to date pronouncing that GMOs are safe to consume, genetically modified plants could be dangerous in another way.

GM crops are often engineered to be resistant to pests and to be strong enough to handle herbicides. But as the Chicago Tribune points out, herbicide-resistant plants could also mean herbicide-resistant weeds and pests, which could be "a major agricultural problem."

What's more, critics take issue with the fact that researchers didn't study the effects of herbicides on human health. While the report may ease fears about the medical consequences of consuming genetically modified food, more research is needed on the environmental and personal effects of herbicides.

Ultimately, the report won't likely cool down this hot-button issue. States are still debating labeling laws and scientists are still asking questions, which is exactly what the report's committee wants.

"We're hoping that our report is not this big tome, but something that starts a conversation," North Carolina State University Professor Fred Gould, the committee's chairman, says.

Discuss.