A big argument against genetic engineering is that we should revert to the farming practices that humans have used for thousands of years. What we now call ‘organic’. Nostalgia for a simpler time of agriculture.
Ironically, through genetic engineering we could “turn back the clock” and engineer crops to be more like they were before industrial agriculture. Danish scientists have proposed using genetic engineering to “insert into modern crops genes that were present in more primitive forms of that same species, to imbue them with beneficial characteristics such as drought resistance” (Satran, 2015). This technique would be called “rewilding” as it would restore native traits to the plant that has been lost through generations of selective breeding.
This type of plant may be able to be considered a ‘organic’ plant rather than a GMO under US law as it would not contain foreign genes.
So if the people that are arguing against GMOs are pinning for the plants of our past, genetic engineering might actually be the answer.