Genetically modified organisms -- plants and animals whose genes have been changed by scientists -- aren't just thought over, they're fought over. GMOs often make news related to the environment, world hunger, the economy, politics, and yes, even health.
Those against them say eating foods made from GMOs is bad for you. Those in favor argue that you're way better off from the benefits that GMOs and other science-based innovations bring to the farm, the store, and the table.
A 2015 survey by the Pew Research Center shows this divide. Nearly 9 out of 10 scientists from the American Association for the Advancement of Science say GMOs are "generally safe" to eat. Though if you're like more than half of U.S. adults from the general public in that same survey, you think you probably shouldn't eat them.
People disagree about when you should call something genetically modified. They argue about whether or not food made with GMOs should be labeled. They debate the long-term effects that producing and eating them will have on our planet and our bodies.
So what do you need to know to make good choices for your health?
Nature on Fast-Forward
Let's start with the basics. Changes to genes aren't necessarily a bad thing. They happen in nature. In fact, no matter what's on the menu, it isn't exactly the same as what grew hundreds or thousands of years ago.
Bits of DNA, called genes, are responsible for all sorts of characteristics and traits in every living thing, from height to how certain cells work. Useful traits help the plants and animals with them survive or thrive better than ones without them, so they get passed along and eventually become common.
Our ancestors sped up the process when they saved seeds of cream-of-the-crop plants to grow the next time, and the next, and the next. That's what turned small bunches of tiny kernels on tall grass 10,000 years ago into the big ears of juicy corn on the cob we have today. With animals, picks of the litter were paired to breed "new-and-improved" babies.