The wealthiest nation in the world is feeding its people an unhealthy diet—and growing most of this food using unsustainable methods. A population threatened by a crisis of diet-related chronic illness; millions of acres of damaged farmland; chemical runoff spilling into our waterways.
Genetically Modified Foods What would you do in the following situations? You are a tomato farmer whose crops are threatened by a persistent species of beetle. Each year, you spend large sums of money for pesticides to protect your crops. A biotechnology company introduces a new strain of tomato plant that produces a natural pesticide, making it resistant to the beetle.
By switching to this new strain, you could avoid both the beetle and the chemical pesticides traditionally needed to fight it. As a family physician, you often treat children who suffer from infectious diseases that could easily be prevented through vaccination.
But the parents of many of your patients cannot afford the cost of vaccinations. You hear of a new approach that would reduce the cost to a fraction of Genetic modification of foods current price: You are the leader of a developing nation. Hunger is a problem among your citizens: A biotechnology company has genetically modified a rice plant that can thrive in salt water, providing your nation with the opportunity to feed its citizens while bolstering its economy.
Our ability to manipulate plants by introducing new genes promises innovative solutions to these and many other real-world problems. Yet there is considerable opposition to the use of genetically modified plants for food production and other uses.
Genetic engineering offers a time-saving method for producing larger, higher-quality crops with less effort and expense.
Yet such benefits must be balanced against the risks of changing the genetic makeup of organisms. What are those risks, and how likely are they to occur? In order to define them, we need to understand the science of plant genetic engineering. For thousands of years, humans have been genetically enhancing other organisms through the practice of selective breeding.
The type of genetic enhancement that generates the most concern goes a step beyond selective breeding, however. Technology now allows us to transfer genes between organisms. This gene, calledcry1Ac, encodes a protein that is poisonous to certain types of insects, including the beetle.
How is this done? Gene transfer technology is simply a sophisticated version of a cut-and-paste operation. The illustration to the right describes the "gene-gun" approach, which is one of several gene transfer methods.
Once the new gene has been introduced, the plant can be bred to create a new strain that passes the gene from generation to generation.
Benefits versus risks of genetically modified plants Can you think of some possible risks of growing plants that contain genes from other organisms? Cross-breeding with wild populations. Critics of genetically modified plant technology cite the need to learn more about the potential long-term impacts of genetically modified plants on the environment before mass-producing them.
Toxicity or allergic reactions. Many people suffer from allergies to various food items, including nuts, wheat, eggs, or dairy products. There is concern that the protein products of introduced genes may be toxic or allergenic to certain individuals.
When farmers start growing genetically modified crops, they stop growing the old varieties. These old varieties are important sources of diverse genes that give plants other desirable characteristics.
For example, a new pest or disease could come along and destroy the genetically modified rice. If one of the old rice varieties has a gene that makes it resistant, it could be cross-bred to make the saltwater rice resistant as well.
If we lose the old varieties, we also lose their useful genes. There are initiatives afoot to require food manufacturers to provide clear labeling on processed food products that contain genetically modified ingredients.
This would make it easier for people with allergies to avoid foods that might pose a danger to them, and it would allow those who oppose genetically modified foods to opt out of buying them. Unlike countries such as Australia and Japan, the United States currently has no laws requiring companies to label products containing genetically modified ingredients.
Despite the controversy surrounding them, genetically modified plants have taken root in our world. As with any new technology, members of society have the responsibility to become informed about genetically modified plants, in order to make decisions about their responsible use and regulation.GMO Facts.
What is a GMO? Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are living organisms whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering.
Frequently asked questions on genetically modified foods May These questions and answers have been prepared by WHO in response to questions and concerns from WHO Member State Governments with regard to the nature and safety of . Genetically modified foods (GM foods), also known as genetically engineered foods (GE foods), or bioengineered foods are foods produced from organisms that have had changes introduced into their DNA using the methods of genetic urbanagricultureinitiative.comc engineering techniques allow for the introduction of new traits as well as greater control over traits when compared to previous methods, such as.
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While many people are still worried and concerned about genetically modified plants that is said to not only help improve yield but also to control pests, some biotech companies are already on the way of trying to focus on a different means for using genetic modification.
Organic foods are packed with nutrients, taste better and aren’t riddled with synthetic pesticides. Foods that people tend to eat – you know the kinds: boxed, GMO-filled fast food and frozen – leave people with a myriad of health issues.
Why GE Food Can Be Dangerous Studies point to a lot of unknowns with genetic modification. There are risks of: Genetic mutation Poison Toxins And these.