The pros and cons of genetically modified papayas are the subject of debate. As a whole, genetically modified foods are usually resistant to certain insects and other infestations. The cons have primarily to do with the fact that these foods have not been proven safe over the long term, so there are some environmental groups and health organization who believe that genetically modified foods could be harmful to human health when consumed in large amounts.
Genetically modified papayas were developed to be resistant to the papaya ringspot virus, which can be devastating to crops of the plant. They have been developed, and, at the time of this writing are available in a variety of countries. There are still more nations that haven't jumped on the bandwagon, but officials in the industry are trying to determine what steps need to be taken to make them more widely available. Many of the countries where genetically modified papayas were first sold are industrialized, with developing nations being amongst those lagging behind.
There is heavy debate on the production and distribution of genetically modified papayas and other foods. On the one hand, an ability to grow more crops without fear of viruses and other pathogens destroying the plants means that more food can be grown overall. More food grown, means that there is more to go around. This is an important aspect of the debate, since the world's population is growing, and conventional crops may not be fruitful enough to feed everyone indefinitely.
On a small scale, less crop loss means farmers can earn more money to support their own families through sales of the crops. This is very important for growers who may be struggling financially due to widespread crop losses. In terms of papayas, papaya ringspot virus can be very devastating, and can wipe out entire crops.
The primary downside to using genetically modified papayas, and other engineered foods, is that they have not been proven safe over the long term. Some health organizations claim that the risks to human health are great, and that all genetically altered foods should be banned for supermarket shelves. Others argue that they are equally as safe and healthy as more conventionally grown crops. The truth of the matter may not be known for some time.