Three Cheers for GMOs!!!

October 24, 2013 | By | Comments (28)

Researchers have discovered that they can change the color of sheep by inserting crayon genes into sheep embryos. No more need to dye wool! Photo: jimmiknott.

You know Grumpy has always shied away from controversy, preferring to shower love on all the world. But there is one burning issue upon which I must take a stand. I must stand up for GMOs.

What’s a GMO?
That’s a good question! Let me begin by pointing out something that a lot of you think is a GMO.


Three deuces and a four-speed and a 389. That’s my little GTO.  Photo: Collector Car Ads.

This is a GTO — a classic, high-performance car immortalized in 1960 by Ronnie & the Daytonas in their hit song, “Little GTO.” While it is a marvel of design and technology, it is not now nor will it ever be a GMO.

Messing with Genes
“GMO” stands for “Greatly Misunderstood Octopus.” (Naw, I’m just kidding, although I do feel cephalopods get a bad rap in our people-centric society.) “GMO” really stands for “genetically modified organism.” What that means is that you identify a gene in one organism that produces a specific trait, remove it, and then insert that gene into a totally different organism and hope for the best.

Good examples — corn, soybeans, canola, cotton, and other crops genetically modified to tolerate spraying with the herbicide Roundup; corn and cotton outfitted with a gene from a bacterium that manufactures a toxin that kills caterpillars; golden rice that provides high amounts of Vitamin A to malnourished people in the Third World; and, of course, the rainbow-colored sheep at the top of the page.

Some folks object to the artificial manipulation of genes.  They worry that weeds and bugs will develop resistance to Roundup Ready corn and B.t. cotton, creating super-weeds and super-bugs nothing can kill. (Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Superbug!) Other people don’t like the idea of eating food that contains genes that shouldn’t naturally be there. Even though as yet there’s no scientific proof GM food is bad for you (don’t take Grumpy’s word for it — Michael Pollan says so), many consumers don’t want to consume it. They call it “Frankenfood” — an obvious cheap shot at Minnesota Senator Al Franken.


Senator Al Franken. Photo: Bird Ferdly

The Good of Mad Science
The problem with bashing all GMOs as dangerous is that this knee-jerk reaction ignores all the good that they do. Here are a few examples of how GMOs are already providing very real and important benefits to this country and all of mankind.

A Cure for Male-Pattern Baldness


Genetically modified to grow human hair, this strawberry could help millions. Photo: whichwould

Forget Rogaine. Scientists in the small Asian country of Stanthemanistan have discovered a remarkable, latent gene in strawberries that when turned on, causes the berries to grow hair. Once this gene is implanted in humans, no one would be denied a healthy head of hair.

New Hearts from Spuds


This genetically modified spud will soon grow into an actual human heart. Photo: pocketpixie

Take heart, those of you with failing hearts. In just a few years, you may no longer have to rely on undependable artificial hearts or wait on a list for a heart transplant. Food scientists in Idaho have discovered that by inserting human stem cells into russet potatoes, the potatoes transform themselves into living, beating human hearts! And unlike heart transplants, there’s no fear of rejection, because as we all know, every human loves potatoes.

New Treatment for E.D.


Intertwined like strands of DNA, “love carrots” let men respond quickly when the moment is right. Try them in soups, salads, and stews. Photo: mrslovecarrot

When the moment is right, you want to be ready. But for men with E. D., that means popping expensive pills whenever she finishes watching “True Blood.” Now there may be a less expensive alternative. Plant geneticists at USDA are putting the finishing touches on the “love carrot.” This randy root stimulates blood flow twice as fast as current prescription medications, no matter if it’s sliced, slivered, or juiced. Consume some and within seconds, people will look at you with awe and exclaim, “You must have had a V-8!”

Veggies That Fight Back


Any bug getting near this genetically altered pepper needs to ask itself one question. Do I feel lucky? Photo: HeatherMG

Did stinkbugs decimate your helpless tomato and pepper plant this summer? Soon, this will be a thing of the past. Through genetic engineering, scientists are developing crops that not only don’t need pesticides to defend themselves, but actively seek out and kill the pest.

For example, the highly promising banana pepper above is fully capable of tracking down, killing, and digesting a variety of destructive insect pests, including stinkbugs, caterpillars, flea beetles, and tomato hornworms. How is this possible? Simple.

Scientists recently inserted genes from the deadly Sydney funnel-web spider into banana peppers. What could go wrong? Photo:

Scientists inserted genes from the Sydney funnel-web spider into the peppers. This large and aggressive spider from Australia is one of the three deadliest spiders in the world. Needless to say, every bug with any brains at all will flee in terror from the new spider pepper.

GMOs Are Our Friends
Well, I hope I’ve allayed your misplaced fears about the safety of GMOs in our foods and medicines. GMOs are our friends. Science is here to help us. So there’s really no need for labels to tell us which foods and medicines contain GMOs. I mean, what’s the worst that could happen?


  1. Myra

    So funny…I needed a good laugh today. Cannot believe that some people are taking this seriously and are offended. Did they even read the thing before they decided to be offended?!

    November 4, 2013 at 4:37 pm
  2. Steve Bender


    We must be related.

    November 3, 2013 at 6:12 am
  3. Morgan

    In the European Union, I live in Italy ,GMO are banned and right so. We do not need to play God to feed the world or to produce high quality product. So no tranks not on my table and they should be’ banned worldwide. grretings from an unseasonally warmMilan (65)

    November 3, 2013 at 3:57 am
  4. Cari

    Mercy! I’ve never been to your website before and never read your column, but was blown away by the thoroughly delightful humor and the stupidity of some of your readers!!

    October 31, 2013 at 4:11 pm
  5. Sheila Hepworth

    GMO’s really …your magazine’s just took a new low for me!

    October 29, 2013 at 11:34 am
  6. Steve Bender


    If your children were dying from Vitamin A deficiency in Africa, I think you would view golden rice somewhat differently.

    October 28, 2013 at 2:27 pm
  7. Steve Bender

    Karol & Elaine,

    See why you should never throw away an issue of Southern Living, ever? Sandburs are annual, grassy weeds that die with the frost and come up the next year from seed. To keep them from returning, apply a crabgrass preventer to your lawn next spring according to label directions. Also be sure to fertilize the grass next spring, as a thick lawn leaves less space for weeds top sprout.

    October 28, 2013 at 2:24 pm
  8. Elaine Thomason

    Threw away September issue and then found out you wrote a great article on a natural way to get rid of stickers, burrs, etc. Can’t find it online. Will you please email it to me? Thanks.

    October 26, 2013 at 10:25 am
  9. Karol

    I am trying to find article you wrote about stickers/grassburs in the September issue but can’t find a link. Can you help?

    October 25, 2013 at 7:32 pm
  10. Julie Alane Meigs

    I am rolling around in laughter! Hard to believe all these people who just skimmed through the article and assumed you weren’t joking. I mean, have they never read your column before?

    October 25, 2013 at 5:49 pm
  11. Riversana

    Grumpy, you had me worried for a moment there! Love your examples, especially the pepper. 🙂

    October 25, 2013 at 3:47 pm
  12. Chad

    Quite the coincidence that everyone expressing GMO phobia on here could not discern the obvious foolery of these fake examples… morons rule!

    October 25, 2013 at 1:00 pm
  13. sharon

    I was laughing until you slipped in the “good” examples of GMO’s which there are NONE.

    October 25, 2013 at 10:50 am
  14. katrina

    the hairy strawberry looks like “rambutan” to me (Tropical fruit)

    October 24, 2013 at 10:57 pm
  15. nancy fitzpatrick

    personally, I love the colored sheep! reminds me of my childhood when we had colored water fountains in Woolworth’s and I was so disappointed when the water didn’t change colors!
    you rock, grumpy!

    October 24, 2013 at 10:06 pm
  16. Dea

    Thanks for a really good chuckle, Grumpy. I actually think the hairy strawberry is scarier than the “spider-pepper”!

    October 24, 2013 at 2:55 pm
  17. ManureTea Since 1924 (@GreenSoil)

    Ah, Grumpy reading through the posts on my way to make my comment, it always amazes me how folks comment on an article before “reading it”! I think Chris McLaughlin needs those sheep to go with her soon to be released book </;-)

    October 24, 2013 at 2:12 pm
  18. peg davenport

    i’m waiting for the skinny genes!

    October 24, 2013 at 12:11 pm
  19. Cathy

    This is hilarious. You had me going for a bit. The love carrot is my favorite!’ With all the Pension For Life idiots wrecking every aspect of the government in the name of which ever Pork Party they belong to in Washington, it is hard for Americans to laugh these days. Maybe a re-read will help them with one today!

    October 24, 2013 at 11:50 am
  20. Steve Bender

    A friend of mine had some blue genes inserted and now his skin looks like denim.

    October 24, 2013 at 11:26 am
  21. Elizabeth

    Hilarious! Thanks for the laughs!

    October 24, 2013 at 11:19 am
  22. peg davenport

    grumpy, sometimes it’s hard to tell when you’re being facetious. i hope this is one of those times!!!

    October 24, 2013 at 11:19 am
  23. Dolly Sarrio

    Can’t you see where he is coming from…go back and re read the article people…

    October 24, 2013 at 11:18 am
  24. Dolly Sarrio

    Too funny and scary!

    October 24, 2013 at 11:16 am
  25. C Murphy

    Wow! I too am disappointed to see Southern Living has taken this stand with regards to GMO’s. Are you a Monsanto owned corporation?

    October 24, 2013 at 10:54 am
  26. Steve Bender

    Which one of the examples above did you take seriously? The potato heart or the spider pepper?

    October 24, 2013 at 10:49 am
  27. B Davidson

    This is ridiculously uneducated as far as the terrible side effects GMO’s have on human health. Sad to see this come from Southern Living of all places

    October 24, 2013 at 10:39 am
  28. Carol Massey

    So true…. I mean, who needs bees!

    October 24, 2013 at 10:27 am

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