Slowbrew is correct. We have been genetically modifying plant life for hundreds of years. Whether through selective breeding or genome manipulation. It shouldn't (although it probably does) make a difference. Manipulating life irresponsibly is an ethical issue, but we still do it.
there is a fairly major difference between breeding two specimens of the same species and using a gold .22 caliber slug to shoot DNA from an entirely unrelated species, or even an entirely unrelated kingdom, into the genetic code of a plant.
Selective breeding is the slight manipulation of an existing mechanism that has been effectively safety tested for millions of years. Modern genetic manipulation is a whole new technology that has hardly been safety tested at all.
Already we have seen mass die offs of important pollinating species directly caused by genetically modified plants. The worst thing to come out of traditional genetic manipulation is the 'killer bee' which was a case of sheer stupidity.
The big advantage of modern genetic manipulation is that the results can be patented and there is some hope of actually prosecuting farmers that are illegaly (or, more commonly, unintentionally) using the patented genetic material. other than that, it's not cheaper, faster, or better than traditional breeding in terms of creating new and more useful varieties of plants and animals.
I guess the argument could be made that so called 'pharma' plants would probably not be practical with traditional methods but given that trans-genomic tendencies seem to jump between populations and even related species with much greater ease than non-trans tendencies the danger of ALL rice eventually being chock full of various pharmacological substances raises some major questions for me.
I am trying to keep this totally un-political. If the mods feed it is edgeing that way please do let me know!