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Genetically Modified Food Essay

1469 words - 6 pages

Genetically modified foodGenetically modified foods are today one of the most controversial topics the world is facing. It is an on-going argument that has reached no conclusion for over 20 years. GM foods have raised questions that are practically unanswerable as nobody knows their true potential and consequences. Nonetheless, to begin with, what exactly is genetically modified food?For years scientists have been making modifications and alterations to add desirable traits to our food. They do it by possibly cross-breeding animals and plants to transformation or by simply inserting or removing specific contents from our food. Genetically modified foods are produced when the genes of any organism are altered in a way that does not occur naturally. Organisms that may never have certain traits naturally may start having them due to this process called genetic engineering. It is means for selected traits of DNA to get transferred into specific organisms that are non-related. By far, it is scientific technology at its peak as the act of producing GM foods is also referred to as - bio-technology, recombinant DNA technology and genetic engineering.To give an example, the golden rice cultivated in the tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world are genetically engineered. Rice being the food source of nearly half the world's population and a stapled item in much of Asia presents chances of having vitamin A deficiencies for those who mainly rely upon rice as their main food source. In order to suffice to these needs, scientists derived a new form of rice called golden rice by introducing beta-carotene inside normal rice to genetically modify it. Another widespread example of genetically modified food is the soybeans. As soybean is one of the most used crops, in 1996, for the first time in USA, soybeans were genetically modified in order to make these crops herbicide resistant. A single gene derived from a common bacterium is inserted into the soybeans which as a result makes the soybean herbicide resistant, therefore genetically modified.Immediately after understanding the concept of GM foods, a particular question is raised: Is consuming genetically modified foods safe? As yet, there is no concluding answer to this question as nobody for instance can say yes/no. As yet what is clear is the fact that we assume it is safe. On a scientific note, results and tests have shown that GM foods have a tendency to react unexpectedly. Research suggests that a genetically modified carrot can become poisonous when overgrown. Such is the unpredictability of GM foods. Also, gene transfer is another level of unpredictability as nobody knows how adversely human body may react when in contact with an alien gene it has never witnessed. No scientist can tell the stability of a gene inserted in the food as once inside the human body, things are out of control. This constant risk factor is ever present along with allergenicity. Allergenicity is a perpetual threat...

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