Genetically Modified Foods: Pros or Cons

Genetically modified foods are very common nowadays in the supermarkets. Many people don’t know or are aware of what these products are. Genetically modified foods are either fruits or vegetables whose genetic material have been altered using genetic engineering techniques in scientific labs and are completely safe to eat. The process of making these foods are simple, for example, the process starts when a fruit or vegetable goes bad scientists take the old fruit to create a make a new fruit out of the old one. GMOs were first created in 1994 when a local farmer tried to ripen their products to try and sell them.

Later on, scientists started experimenting on different kinds of fruits and vegetables, to try and replicate new foods. Over time genetically modified foods have helped scientists improve DNA editing, which can later lead to many cures for illnesses such as cancer and HIV. GMOs significance back then and now is very important for scientific purposes, new experiments led to new a better understanding of GMOs and crisper in the science world. GMOs should be allowed and considered equally as consumable foods.

People argue over whether or not GMOs are harmless to eat, while many studies do show that these foods are entirely safe to eat, others argue that are not. For instance, according to Harvard student Gabriel Rangel, a BT crops contains a gene from a bacterium called Bacillus thuringiensis that allows the genetically modified plant to produce a protein that completely destroys the digestive system of certain insects. Although certain plants have pesticides all over them and could be easily fragmented off. This isn’t the case for BT crops, their poison stays inside the crop, but isn’t a very big deal. As there are hundreds of things in this world that may be harmful to animals and immune to humans this applies to BT crops. ( Niederhuber, 2015) The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine as well presented an argument that proves GMOs are safe to consume, various experiments and observations were conducted in 2015 on genetically modified foods that prove GMOs are safe to eat. (The National Academies Of Science, Engineering, Mathematics 2016)

GMOs can influence genetic diversity, Harvard student Heather Landry writes that GMOs do in fact influence genetic diversity. Genetic diversity is utterly crucial for living organisms adaptation in new environments, for instance, different traits allow for various creative ways of enduring harsh conditions. (Landry, 2015) GMOs do in fact influence genetic diversity, all GMOs factor in genes differently, which allow them to be immune to diverse conditions. This is very important for areas that do not have good soil to plant crops. For example, in Hawaii, numerous papaya smoothie shops were about to go bankrupt, due to a virus causing the failure of papaya trees not producing any papayas. (Davidson, 2008) GMOs introduced and saved many papaya shops with the incoming genetically modified to withstand these conditions the last papaya trees faced.

DNA Editing will be advanced as more and more GMOs are made, DNA editing is a simple task that scientists use when creating GMO. The development of GMOs will bring in some interesting facts and experiments to the science world. GMOs are simply made by editing new genes into the original ones to get specific factors you want into one. With these new improvements in GMOs, many scientists have started testing to treat many diseases such as HIV, Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia. (Knox, 2014). Today’s technology allows CRISPR cells, which are bacteria that remember specific viruses, and attacks them. (Cohen, 2015)

Biotechnology is a tremendous advantage for us, bringing in more nutrients into our food is important for our health. Researchers are now using biotechnology to make genetically modified foods that prove they have benefits we can use. In 2015, experts came together to discuss GMOs in terms of agriculture. Mary Lee Chin and Nutritional Experts spoke about the golden rice project, which was a GMO based lead in the Philippines. The rice they used was altered to have increased amounts of vitamin A, a deficiency that can cause blindness and even death in populations without better access to food, particularly in Asia and Africa. (Greeley, 2015) A tomato was engineered to produce higher levels of nutrients called anthocyanins, which have been shown to be protective against a wide variety of human diseases. Biotechnology goes hand in hand with GMOs, together they’ll help any people with health problems. (Battelle, 2015)

GMOs may be our best bet to adapt to changing global conditions, climate change and population growth are putting pressure on the food industry. GMOs that are under development today, with improved conventional farming methods and biologic crop protection products, will help us defeat the challenge in the future. (Battelle, 2015) Many areas such as California are facing droughts, other areas they are facing new blights and invasive pets that seriously impact food production. (Caesar, 2014)

Many people are against GMOs, since they believe that it is bad for their health and can cause some defects.( Bittman, 2015) Officials have all raised concerns about GM foods, and criticized agribusiness for pursuing profit without concern for potential hazards, and the government for failing to exercise adequate regulatory oversight. It seems that everyone has a strong opinion about GM foods. Even the Vatican and the Prince of Wales have expressed their opinions. Most concerns about GM foods fall into three categories: environmental hazards, human health risks, and economic concerns.

Resources

  1. Harvard University 2015 Matthew Niederhuber – http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2015/challenging-evolution-how-gmos-can-influence-genetic-diversity/
  2. The National Academies of S.E.M 2016 – https://www.nap.edu/read/23395/chapter/1
  3. Harvard University Heather Landry – http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2015/challenging-evolution-how-gmos-can-influence-genetic-diversity/
  4. Sarah Davidson, June 2008 – https://www.usda.gov/topics/biotechnology/how-federal-government-regulates-biotech-plants
  5. Knox, Margaret 2014 – http://allianceforscience.cornell.edu/farmer-perspectives-bt-brinjal-bangladesh
  6. Jon Cohen, 2015 – https://www.sciencemag.org/topic/crispr
  7. Greeley, Tribune 2015- http://web.b.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail/detail?vid=14&sid=227bada9-a6b3-484d-b7b7-c6b1325b7c8e%40sessionmgr102&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#AN=2W61847531400&db=nfh
  8. Battelle, 2015 – https://inside.battelle.org/blog-details/five-good-reasons-to-support-gmos
  9. Caesar, 2014 –
  10. Mark Bittman – http://web.a.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail/detail?vid=8&sid=def48f5e-3109-40a1-a4a8-6e76720fa5ef%40sessionmgr4010&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#AN=102262478&db=tfh