Chapter One
1. By 1993 or 1994, the term genetically modified organisms became the predominant
way to talk about micro- organisms, plants, animals, seeds, foods, and products
produced by introducing new genes into the nucleus of an organism. The term
gmo immediately became an acronym so popular that many people I encountered
knew what gmos are but had no idea what the acronym meant. Of note is the fact
that beginning in the 1970s, scientists and industry agents originally used the terms
genetically engineered and genetically engineered organisms. In the early 1990s, mar-
keting strategists for biotechnology firms exchanged the less technical and more
ambiguous-sounding term modified for engineered. Thus the gmo was born. Many
activists throughout the world continue to reject the term modified, seeing it as
an attempt by powerful institutions to use an innocuous term connoting “slight
change” (modified) to mask the fact that they see the gmo as dramatically altered
in potentially dangerous ways. Maintaining the acronym gmo, most activists still
use the term manipulated instead of modified (genetically manipulated organisms).
I use the generic popular term gmos to refer to products and processes related to
genetically modified products. I use the term genetically modified when referring to
a specific product such as milk, seed, or corn.
2. gmos often have sets of names that are integral to their individual and compel-
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