M Turner A period
May 12, 2014
Cracking the Genome of Genetically Modified Foods.
From prehistoric times crop plants and animals have been improved by selective breeding, a process by which humans breed other animals and plants for certain traits, but the modern marvels of GMOs and transgenic plants have come to light in just the last few decades. Selection procedures have achieved huge differences in form and genetics of a single species for instance the mule, a cross between a male donkey and a mare has been used in Europe for more than 3,000 years (GM Education). Modern genetic engineering started back in 1973 when Stanley Cohen, Annie Chang and Herbert Boyer created the first genetically modified DNA organism. In terms of food, genetic engineering simply means modification of crops in a lab to produce desired traits such as resistance to herbicides and improved nutritional content (PRWeb). These changes along with evolutionary changes, have resulted in common food species that are now genetically different than their ancestors (National Research Council, 23). Since genetic modification of food is a pretty new technique and is potentially harmful to the human body, it would be better for people to avoid them and choose organic foods over the genetically modified.
Genetic Engineering, along with evolutionary changes, has resulted in common food species that carry the potential for introducing unintended compositional changes that may have adverse effect on human health (National Research Council, 17). Digestive malfunctioning, increased risk of infertility, increased risk of developing arthritis, inflammation and lymphoma are only some of their negative side effects (PRWeb). A lot of people, especially teenagers are facing these health problems and hormonal disbalances which are worrying them and their parents to such an extent that now people have started to question the safety element in GMOs. Although plants and animals produced from conventional breeding methods are routinely evaluated but changes in productivity, reproductive efficiency, reactions to disease, and quality characteristics are not routinely evaluated for unintended effects at the molecular level. A research conducted by World Health Organization (WHO) in 2000, new varieties of food crops, other than those produced using rDNA technology, are rarely subjected to toxicological assessments (The National research Council, 39). This could give a rise to medical emergencies in the United States and requires people with allergies to pay very close to attention to what they’re trying to consume. This could also introduce humans to new varieties of diseases and health conditions.
Opponents of GMF argue that genetic engineering of plants and animals for food and medicine is expensive and impractical and that they are not labeled as such in the United States. This raises concern that US consumers are not fully aware of what they are buying (Forman, 13)....