The impact of genetically modified foods

Ignacio-GarciaSee Ignacio Garcia's article on the impact of genetically modified foods on health, the environment and the economy that came out this September in the electronic magazine Portal Top Vitrine.

The debate on genetically modified foods (GMO) is gaining traction in many countries by encompassing discussions in crucial fields of society such as the environment, health and the economy.

To understand the impact of such complexity on the business ecosystem, we have applied a knowledge discovery process that integrates Data Science, Network Science and Netnography through LivingNethos, the innovative digital knowledge discovery platform recently launched by Tree Intelligence.

Between the “pro” or “against” positions, each area affected by transgenics brings benefits and threats brought about by the modification of grain, vegetable and the use of genetically altered inputs.

In this way, we map out who are the most influential and relevant actors (individuals and legal entities) in the current discussion and unveil the networks of influence that are established between them, together with their behavioral characteristics.

The mapping allows for an in-depth analysis of what is being discussed in the global GMO network and particularly among influencers. The space highlights emotions and opinions geolocally associated for better segmentation.


The safety that GMOs offer in pest management and pesticide reduction is an argument in favor of GMO. However, the threat to local species, soil damage and alteration of specific sections of the food chain concern environmentalists.


Transgenics have a positive influence when the discourse is the nutritional strengthening caused by changes in the profile of products such as corn, sunflower, canola and soybeans, in search of a more nutritious oil. GMO critics relate the intake of these foods to increased diseases such as obesity, gluten and lactose intolerance, as well as allergic reactions and a higher incidence of cancer.


In the socioeconomic context, the guarantee of higher productivity and food availability is the biggest flag of laboratories and manufacturers of transgenic agricultural inputs. On the other hand, GMO critics see the proliferation of transgenic seed use as destroying small farmers who would not accept relying on large multinational products to remain competitive in the market.

The GMO theme is multifaceted and controversial in all its dimensions. The amount of studies, petitions, news, votes and discussions between companies, governments, the press and the population makes the subject constantly evolving. Gaining strategic and up-to-date knowledge of the risks and benefits that GMO offers is critical for public and private institutions to take a stand on the issue.

* Ignacio Garcia is a digital and organizational anthropologist specializing in understanding and developing networks of innovation and cooperation in the Age of Interconnectivity. Ignacio Garcia is a senior consultant, international speaker, director and co-founder of Tree Intelligence, an international company that applies Network Science, Data Science and Netnography to the discovery of strategic knowledge for smart decisions in areas such as Marketing, Human Resources, Research and Development and Institutional Relations.


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