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Evaluation Of Genetically Modified Foods Essay

936 words - 4 pages

Evaluation of Genetically Modified Foods

Humans have been modifying their food for thousands of years. Until
the 20th century, this had to be done by breeding desirable
characteristics into crops. This method requires a lot of effort and
is rather imprecise. Genetic modification has enabled us to add
qualities to crops that no amount of traditional breeding could. But
in the 1960s, scientists made huge breakthroughs in their
understanding of genetics. Many recognised that this new knowledge had
the potential to revolutionise food production, creating huge benefits
for the world. GM food promises to provide enormous benefits. Many
modified crops could boost prosperity in the developing world and
provide new choices for consumers. But there are huge risks involved
in tampering with nature's code. GM foods could have unpredictable
effects on the environment and on our health.

The debate surrounding genetically modified foods has left consumers
both confused and sceptical. Interest groups seem to produce experts
whose views are so convincingly opposed that consumers simply don’t
know who to believe. Are genetically modified foods safe? Are they
adequately labelled? Are they good for you? Are they bad for you? Will
they save the earth or destroy it? Will they result in the cornering
of the global food market by multinationals or will they bring to
mankind the same benefits as genetically engineered medicines?

Due to huge advances in science and technology, scientists can now
identify and isolate individual genes responsible for producing
specific characteristics. By altering such genes, or transferring them
to another organism, scientists can ‘engineer’ the genetic makeup of
that organism producing a new variety. This technology is what is
commonly defined as genetic modification, and has been used for the
productions of medicines, pharmaceuticals, and most recently GM plants
and animals.

There are potential benefits from such new gene technology,
considerable advances in medicine, such as the development of new
vaccines and medicines have evolved, but can the same be said for GM
foods? Currently the only apparent benefits from growing GM crops are
to the farming and biotechnology industries. Nonetheless it is true to
say that this technology does have the potential to produce foods that
could be of great consumer benefits such as: Tomatoes with increased
vitamin content, food (such as peanuts) with reduced of no
allergenicity, potatoes with higher starch content (which absorbs less

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