Genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) are debatable because they benefit equally the food manufacturers and purchasers. The consumers are dealing with potential biomedical risks and environmental side effects. There is an increasing issue among individuals who consume GMO’s, specifically from the GMO’s because the society is conscious that there are short and long-lasting health problems that could occur from this advanced biotechnology.
GMO’s were developed by scientists to help farmers with their crops to produce them safely since it also prevents soil erosion since they are herbicide-tolerant it will help them to control weeds, “whereas adoption to no-till agriculture will reduce soil erosion”.(Sui) In present, the people who directly see the benefits from GMO’s are farmers and agricultural companies. However, it also effects the consumers since the food with GMO’s are in a lower cost. GMOs are also used to provide many medicines and vaccines that helps to treat or prevent illnesses. GMO’s are used in 3.7% of the world’s total farming land, by less than one percent of the world’s farmers. (Zhang) (Wohlhueter) (Goldsbrough)
In this essay I will be talking about the positive and negative sides of genetically modified organisms (GMO’s).
Benefits of GMO’s
GM foods are being evolved to have improved nutritional content to benefit our health. GMO’s have a lots of benefits which solves farmers’ problems for crops. When GMO’s are used, the quality of the product increases and it makes the product stay fresh for longer. GMO’s are particularly used in the plant’s seed. The reason that GMO’s are used in the food seeds are because it makes the nutrition level go higher.
Scientists are developing plants that look and taste similar to their non-GMO counterparts, however, are resistant to insects and plant-particular illnesses which could benefit a farmer’s harvest. Plants with traits that shield roots from insect damage have more benefit of using water extra effectively. Biotechnology accomplishes this through removing genetic material from one organism and shifting it to the genome of other. Genome is an organisms whole set of DNA which includes all of its genes. It is able to be completed in each plants and animals and allows biotech businesses to patent the resultant food. (Goldbrough)
In improvement are foods which have genes changed to provide a higher protein content. Other improvement focuses on improving the fatty acid profile in order that crops produce higher levels of polyunsaturated fats, which play a role in shielding against heart disorder.
The world is expected to have 2 billion addition of population through 2050. Most effective the widespread embrace of bioengineered or genetically modified (GM) crops and animals can resolve the continual problem of starvation and reduce the impact of pest-borne diseases without doing uncountable harm to the surroundings.
Techniques for genetic manipulation have unexpectedly improved during the last century from easy selective breeding to placing genes from one organism into any other, to greater current techniques of immediately modifying the genome. The key steps involved in genetic engineering are figuring out a trait of interest, separating that trait, placing that trait into the preferred organism, and then propagating that organism.
Limitations/Concerns about GMO’s
GMO’s were introduced into the food supply in 1994. After it was introduced there were a lot of toxic effects that was caused by them. An anti GMO group which is named Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT) reported that “rats fed a diet containing a GMO potato had virtually every organ system adversely affected after just ten days of feeding” (Norris). IRT also stated that the toxic effects weren’t particular to the potato but to the GMO that was used and they added that the process of making GMO’s caused it to be toxic thus all of the GMO’s have toxicity. (Norris)
Because of the occurrence of GMO’s, glyphosate herbicides became the sole dominator of the market. As a result, there was an initial decrease in the frequency of general herbicide use. Glyphosate was at first considered a low-risk herbicide for both human consumption and environmental impact, so this decrease was very well received by the public and scientific communities (Bonny). As a result, there has been an initial decrease in the frequency of general herbicide use. Glyphosate was at first considered a low-chance herbicide for both human intake and environmental effect, so this decrease was thoroughly obtained by the public and medical groups
GMO’s make the plants grow faster and more but it is toxic. There are some ways that we can have the same result which was also used thousands of years ago by Romans, Egyptians and Asians before the middle ages. The method is called crop rotation. Crop rotation is growing different kinds of crops in the same land every year to avoid exhausting the soil. Crop rotation has increased the nutritional value of the crop and it kept the nitrogen levels high in the soil so chemical fertilizers weren’t needed. “A long-term, 9-year study showed how Midwestern farmers of the U.S. adopted organic growing methods, including crop rotation to reduce herbicide and chemical fertilizer use by 80%.”(Sarich)
The reason that GMO’s are used in the food seeds are because it makes the nutrition level go higher but with this method the nutrition level also goes higher and it also doesn’t need any chemical fertilizers which also benefits our health.
There is another resolution for this problem which is new that is called BioDirect by a company called Monsanto. It depends on a natural occurrence called RNA interference that scientists can use to block crucial genes in killer pests. RNA plays an important role to duplicate genes. Monsanto is still doing a research about making a replica RNA which can get the genetic information that it wants to have. For example if the insects attack to your plant, if your spray the RNA interference to it, it can become insect resistance. This can be used if the plant isn’t growing as fast or doesn’t have enough nutrients. (Jacobs) (Monsanto)
This method still uses chemicals but unlike GMO’s, it targets the weak area of the plant, fixes it and disappears. It is also still in research which makes this option weaker than my first one.
Science Impact Connection-Environmental
GMO’s impacts and relates to environment because a lot of people undergo with the same problem because GMO’s are really common around the world. As I have stated above, “rats fed a diet containing a GMO potato had virtually every organ system adversely affected after just ten days of feeding” (Norris). Most of us eat GMO’s in our daily life which also means that our organs are also affected badly if we all eat GMO’s which can cause sicknesses in the endocrine system.
In another experiment with rats, there was an experiment made in 2012 which was aiming to study the effects of feeding genetically modified corn to rats over a two-year period. The results were frightening and extensively reported in the press. The researched demanded that approximately 50% of the males and 70% of the females died during this time period. Tumors were also reported in “50% to 80% of the females compared with only 30% of the controls.” (Pollack) This effects our environment and us since if we go shopping in a supermarket, approximately 80% of the products there are being genetically modified and we eat them which shows the same result as it showed in the rat experiments which also affects our environment.
Majority of people think that there aren’t any benefits of GMO’s but “GMOs have actually caused the use of herbicides and pesticides to increase significantly, leaving more chemical residue on crops for consumers to ingest.” The debate about GMO’s is still continuing but there is a growing evidence linking with GMO’s “environmental damage, health issues, and even violations of consumers’ and farmers’ rights.”(Qutab) Gluten intolerance, autism, birth defects, and many more health problems are all linked back to GMO’s.