GMOs: Changing the World One Seed at a Time!
! Within the past 200 years, the world population has grown at a faster rate than
ever before. With a population of well over six billion people, we need more food now
than we ever have in history. Farmers have always been on the lookout for ways to
increase their yields (or the amount of crop produced per acre) so when genetically
modified organisms were first created by Monsanto scientists in 1982 (Beckrich),
farmers immediately recognized just how great such an organism would fit into the
rapidly changing world of agriculture. These genetically modified organisms (or GMOs)
could generate higher yields, leading to an increased supply of food and products
created from these plants. Unfortunately, these GMOs are met with much opposition
from organic farmers and consumers. Genetically modified organisms should continue
to be planted, because the benefits far outweigh any negative aspects, and they can
help solve future world hunger problems.!
! The process of creating a genetically modified organism, or at least the concept
of it, is quite simple. GMOs are created in laboratories by taking a desirable gene from
one organism and inserting (or "splicing") it into the DNA of another. Scientists Nayak,
Pandey, Ammayappan, and Prasad Ray, describe the more technical aspects of the
! The desired gene is first isolated, than it is transferred using transformation !
! techniques into the desired plant or organism. It is possible to transform almost !
! all the plants !cultivated by man. Genetic modification can efficiently add or !
! change a gene in a plant to give the plant a new or improved characteristic e.g. !
! resistance to drought or enhanced nutritional properties. !
Ususally, these properties are due to the GMO plant creating certain proteins. While the
process may seem simple, creating these crops can take years. And, as Andrew Curry
writes in "Seeds of Conflict", these labs have been recently broken into in Europe.
Anonymous groups of anti-GMO farmers and consumers breached these laboratories
and destroyed years of research by uprooting plants, stomping on plants, and
! A concern that goes along with the process of creating GMOs is that due to
genes from other organisms being present in the genetically modified organism, there is
a possibility that someone with an allergy to the first organism could have an allergic
reaction to the GMO. While this only happens in rare cases, simple tests can be
performed to check for the presence of an allergen, according to Nayak and colleagues.
In the past, the possibility of the presence of allergens has been observed in GM
potatoes and GM soybeans (Nayak et al. 114-115).!
! However, the benefits of genetically modified crops are enormous. With a world
population growing exponentially every year, we need more food. And we are also
beginning to run out of land, according to Time columnist Bryan Walsh who states that