Why is transgenic technology so controversial in society?

Transgenic technology is only to transfer the existing DNA sequence in nature to another species, while mutagenesis breeding technology is likely to produce DNA sequence that has never been seen in nature, which is more uncontrollable than transgenic technology. So why is there so much social opposition to GM and so little attention to mutagenesis breeding?

Considering that mutagenesis breeding has been around for nearly 100 years, was there a huge controversy in society when it was first introduced?

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  • Mutation breeding (variation breeding): the process of exposing seeds to chemicals or radiation in order to create mutants with the desired traits; they can be bred with other cultivators
  • Transgenic biology: one or more DNA sequences from another species has been introduced to the organism artificially; the sequence of foreign DNA is injected into the fertilized egg or embryo (demonstrated in image above)

The main reason I believe transgenic biology has so much controversy surrounding it right now is because it is a relatively new science. Research studies on this topic only began in the late 1900s, around 1980. Therefore, it hasn’t been enough studies done to determine long-term impacts. On the other hand, mutation breeding has been researched for around a century. This is well over the average lifespan of a human being, therefore the long-term effects people are concerned about should have already been discovered in this time period.

The other reason behind the controversy of transgenic biology is that it is creating changes to living things, both plants and animals, while mutation breeding only radiates or adds chemicals to the seed of a plant. You can see what they are in the definitions above. This brings about ethical issues on whether it is right to do these changes without consent. We are distorting a living thing like us rather than a seed, which is often seen as a nonliving object. Because of the parallels of transgenic biology being more related to us rather than mutation breeding just being related to plants, people become more cautious and suspicious.

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