Organisms are any living things - giant trees, whales, mice,
bacteria, penguins, people. Some people
think the whole planet is a living organism which can regulate
its temperature so that it stays just right for life to flourish.
(This is called the Gaia Theory.) Organisms are alive
and that means that they have the special power to be able to
make endless copies of themselves - to reproduce. Genetically
modified organisms (GMOs) are also alive and also have this
endless ability to reproduce themselves. This
is why many people think they are a bad idea. Once GMOs escape
from laboratories or farms, they could reproduce themselves
and interbreed with non-GMO relatives and nobody would be able
stop them. If
something goes wrong with them (see genes),
nobody can call them back. This is called bio-pollution which,
unlike other pollution, cannot be cleaned up once it has happened.
This is why protestors liken the escape of transgenic organisms
GMOs to the tale of Aladdin and the magic lamp which he
found. Once Aladdin rubbed the lamp, he released the magic genie.
The genie, once released, was supposed to do Aladdin's bidding
(like GMOs are for people) but suppose the genie liked being
out? No-one could call him back!
Aladdin is a character from The One Thousand and One Nights (Arabian Nights), a famous set of 10th century Arabic stories.