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NGO and GMO are abbreviations known as initialisms, which are initial-letter abbreviations that are pronounced as letters rather than words. Initialisms are almost always rendered without periods. NGO and GMO are sometimes confused, so we will examine the definitions of these expressions, where they came from and look at some examples of their use in sentences.

NGO is an initialism that stands for non-governmental organization. NGO describes an entity that is not dependent upon a government for assistance, is run by a voluntary citizens’ group and exists for humanitarian or service reasons. An NGO does not attempt to turn a profit and may therefore pursue its agenda unrestrained. An NGO may serve one sector of the world or it may be an international organization. NGOs are divided into two broad categories: operational or advocacy. Operational NGOs perform services. Some examples of operational NGOs are the World Wildlife Fund, CARE International and Doctors Without Borders. Advocacy NGOs promote a particular cause or work for a certain social change. Some examples of advocacy NGOs are Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. The term NGO was coined by the United Nations in the 1940s. Note that the indefinite article used for NGO is an, as pronouncing the letter N begins with a vowel sound. The plural form of NGO is NGOs, with a lowercase s.

GMO is an initialism that stands for genetically modified organism. The abbreviation GMO followed the establishment of the term GE to mean genetic engineering, coined in the early 1970s. Currently, the earliest known used of the term genetically modified organisms occurred in the New York Times in 1996, though the initialism GMO doesn’t appear until later. Many people are opposed to the genetic manipulation of species through gene splicing, which may produce a fish that glows a neon pink or a banana that weighs five pounds. Many critics are afraid of unintended consequences if GMOs are released into the wild to breed with original species, particularly in the case of farm crops. Others fear the creation of new and virulent diseases for which there is no cure, such as a strain of rabies that is is airborne. However, GMO is not a scientific term, and a genetically modified organism may simply be a plant that has been grafted or a breed of dog that has been bred to herd sheep. Note that the indefinite article used for GMO is a, as pronouncing the letter G begins with a consonant sound. The plural form of GMO is GMOs, spelled with a l0wercase s.


KUALA LUMPUR: A newly-registered NGO calling themselves Sedar (Sahabat Erat Dan Amanat Rakyat Malaysia) has started a petition calling for an anti-hopping law and equal allocation of funds for MPs from both the ruling government and the opposition. (The Star)

An NGO whose boat has been stranded at sea for six days between Libya and Malta with 32 migrants on board has appealed to EU states to act before supplies start running out. (The Times of Malta)

The Home Ministry in a notification said the decision has been taken following representations from various NGOs which have faced difficulties in filing the annual returns on their foreign contributions. (The Economic Times)
These days, everything from cookies to orange juice carries labels boasting that it’s GMO free — a marketing ploy that assumes consumers still hate, fear or at least disapprove of genetically modified organisms despite reassurances from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. (Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel)

“Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) could be engineered to eat up these unwanted plastic wastes,” said Dr. Nii Korley Kortei, acting head of the department of nutrition and dietetics at University of Health and Allied Sciences in Ghana. (The Genetic Literacy Project)