IELTS Reading & Vocabulary: GM Foods

Below are two passages on GM foods which require you to answer multiple choice questions. The questions are given under the passage but there is also a link to the questions at the end of the first paragraph to allow easy access – look for “Q’s”. This is a useful exercise to practise reading and build awareness of vocabulary for this topic.

GM Food

Genetically modified food is produced from plants which have had their genes tweaked in the lab. Scientists “cut and paste” a gene from another organism into a plant’s DNA to give it a new characteristic. This can be to increase yield or to allow the plant to exist in a more hostile environment than normal. Pro-GM scientists say this means cheaper more plentiful food but opponents argue we do not know the consequences of meddling with nature.  Qs

1. The genetic make-up of GM foods has been………

a) twisted.

b) altered.

c) cut.

2. By genetically engineering plants, they ……………

a) are likely to increase in size.

b) can produce more.

c) are unable to exist in difficult conditions.

3. One issue with GM plants is the potential to………

a) breakout causing undetermined consequences.

b) infect wild plants with unknown results.

c) cross pollinate.

4. It is thought, by specialists in biotechnology that policies governing GM crops should be…….

a) tightened.

b) relaxed.

c) reviewed.

5. GM foods ought to be ……….

a) reclaimed for the use of multinational companies.

b) used safely.

c) no longer privatised.

Farmers have modified their crops for thousands of years by crossing similar species. However, modern GM is controversial. Critics say the modified crops could “escape” and cross with wild plants, with unknown consequences. They also argue that more chemicals are used on some GM fields which may have a negative impact on wildlife. And while no study has found GM food to be harmful to humans, opponents say it is too soon to be sure.

A group of biotechnology experts say it is time to loosen Europe’s draconian regulations on genetically modified crops. In a report released today they argue that genetically modified crops have been used safely for decades, so no longer need to be automatically treated as unsafe. They also say that genetically modified crops should be reclaimed from multinational companies and treated as a public good.

Questions 1-5

Choose the best answer A-C.

1. The genetic make-up of GM foods has been………

a) twisted.

b) altered.

c) cut.

2. By genetically engineering plants, they are……………

a) likely to increase in size.

b) able to produce more.

c) not able to exist in difficult conditions.

3. One issue with GM plants is the potential to………

a) breakout causing undetermined consequences.

b) infect wild plants with unknown results.

c) cross pollinate.

4. It is thought, by specialists in biotechnology that policies governing GM crops should be…….

a) tightened.

b) relaxed.

c) reviewed.

5. GM foods ought to be ……….

a) reclaimed for the use of multinational companies.

b) used safely.

c) no longer privatised.

Answers
  1. b
  2. b
  3. c
  4. b
  5. c

All reading exercises on ieltsliz.com have been written by myself to help you prepare for your IELTS test.   

Liz

Vocabulary
  • tweak = adjust, modify, regular (the synonyms relate to the context)
  • cross with = reproduce with, cross pollinate
  • meddling with = interfering with
  • loosened = relaxed
  • regulations = rules / policies
  • experts = specialists
  • released = made public / issued / announced
  • draconian = strict / tough / harsh

Passage from: BBC News and New Scientist 14/03/14 

 

It is also possible to get this topic for writing task 2 or speaking part 3 in your IELTS test. Use this article to learn ideas and useful vocabulary.

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Comments

  1. I feel the answer for 3 should be “a”. Please help me find the difference.

    • This sentence shows the answer: “Critics say the modified crops could “escape” and cross with wild plants, with unknown consequences. “. The problem is “crossing with wild plants” and this means cross pollinating. Of course it can have consequences, the issue is the cross pollination.

  2. Hi liz..
    I was wondering where can I possibly send u my writing samples for corrections? do i need to register on something? Thanks.. I really need your help

  3. hi liz

  4. Siya Bhatt says:

    I got 5/5. 🙂

  5. Siya Bhatt says:

    GT reading test is easy or Academic reading and why ?

  6. damilola kendall says:

    5/5.. yeah

  7. I got 4/5

  8. I got only 1/5.

  9. sujit kumar biswas says:

    i got 4/5. i think it is being deveoped. thank you liz

  10. Mohannad Abusarah says:

    Hi Liz,

    I’m still thinking of Q1, in the text “which have had their genetic make-up tweaked in the lab” so shouldn’t the answer be a)”twisted”

    • No. To tweak an object manually, such as tweaking a cable, could mean twist. But in this context, which related to GM foods, it is about altering or changing, not twisting. We never talk about twisting genes, but we do talk about altering genes.

  11. mohammad nasser says:

    Dear Liz,
    I am struggling with question 1. in the GM food passage, could please explain it more.

    • Question one: plants which have had their genes tweaked. And question three: cross with wild plants. In these cases, the level of your English is an issue. Don’t forget that this is an English language test and reading, particularly, is testing your understanding of vocabulary.

  12. Dear Liz,
    In Question 5, is it grammatically right to say ought to be no longer be privatised.
    i mean the repitition of the verb (to be)
    or it should be ought to be no longer privatised

    Thanks

  13. Mustafa says:

    Dear Liz,
    i am trying very hard to overcome on my weaknesses. my test is on 1st april. but my readings skills are not improving. my average score level is 5 out of ten 🙁

  14. pls, liz i wounder if you could illustrate to me whether this passages for academic or general, i noticed most of the passage are scientific

  15. Hi Liz.
    Please explain the answer to question 5. Where in the passage does it show that the answer is C. Means which words in the passage matches with answer C. Am confused.
    Thankyou

  16. The 5th Q/A sounds so wrong it just can’t be correct:
    “GM foods ought to be no longer be privatised.”

    I understand why this is OK when discussing content of the text, but there’s one too many “be”-s so for me the only correct option seemed to be “b” not “c”.

  17. Hello Liz,

    Thank you for your great work.

    For question 2, By genetically engineering plants, they are _____. Answer B is right one (because there is a statement that says “increase yeild”). But, “they are produce more” doesnt sound gramatically correct. In such cases, should we still go with option B or the one that sounds gramatically correct (they are likely to increase in size)?

    Thank you.

  18. I love your lessons Liz 🙂 Its very useful.

    Thanks a lot

  19. question 3,.why not B?

    • Because “However, modern GM is controversial. Critics say the modified crops could “escape” and cross with wild plants, with unknown consequences. ” isn’t about infecting – it’s about pollinating.
      Liz

      • Sharnjeet Singh Jaura says:

        Most of my questions always get wrong because I did not know about the meaning of those difficult words, and in this test also, only 4/5. My third question was wrong because I did not know the meaning of ” pollinating “.

  20. Hi Liz;

    I haven’t understood question 5 yet.

    If the passage said that gm foods should be public, the right answer should not be something around nationalized? The alternative C (privatised) does not have the same meaning of alternative A (reclaimed for the use of companies)?

  21. why last question’s (5) answer is “C”. Isn’t it “A”.

    “…. crops should be reclaimed from multinational companies and treated as public good” ?

    • Answer A is “reclaimed for the use of multinational companies” and the passages says “reclaimed from multinational companies”. Answer A “reclaimed for their use” means that we must take back GM foods and give them to multinational companies for their use. However, in the passage it says “reclaimed from..” which means we must take gm foods away from multinational companies and make them public. So, it’s actually the opposite meaning. This question really tests your knowledge and understanding of prepositions “reclaim for” and “reclaim from”.

  22. Lovely,question 3 is a tricky question .

    • Yes, I agree that question three is tricky because each question contains one word from the passage. So, this question is really testing your knowledge of vocabulary and your understanding of “cross with wild plants”.
      Liz

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