Genetically Modified Organisms Essay

Genetically Modified Organisms Essay
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  • University/College:
    University of California

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Words: 6508

  • Pages: 26

Genetically Modified Organisms

Genetically modified crops and food involve the deliberate altering of the genetic material of plants and animals. Biotechnology when used for agriculture and food production will cause concerns over the environmental, economic and ethical issues that this technology affects. Genetically modified crops that are resistant to pesticides can help contribute to increased yields and agricultural growth. Most foods we consume today have been genetically modified or they have ingredients that are derived from gene modification technology. Some specific fears expressed about genetically modified organisms are the fear of the unknown and also cultural, ethical and environmental. The benefits from GMO crops include longer shelf-life, improved nutritional quality, increased crop yield. The benefits of GM crops and food seem to outweigh the risk. The agencies that regulate this technology and the businesses that are involved in this technology should help enhance public awareness for worldwide acceptance of genetically modified crops and food.

The Food and Drug Administration known as the FDA has been focusing their time and money on food biotechnology. The use of biotechnology when used for agriculture and food production increases the environmental, economic and ethical concerns. The use of genetically engineered organisms poses apprehensive questions on the risk to human health. Progress in technology and especially genetic engineering of food is not what it once was. The way food was once grown and made has long passed. What are the possible risks and effects of this technology and is there enough information to determine the consequences GMOs will have on human health. This technology dates back to the early 1900s and in 1935 Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) was first discovered by Andrei Nikolaevitch Belozersky a Russian scientist. Recombinant DNA a form of artificial DNA was created in 1973 and in 1994 insulin produced by genetically engineered E. coli bacteria is sold on the market.

Genetically modified organisms hit the grocery stores in 1994 and the United States Food and Drug Administration approved the first genetically engineered crop product called the FLAVR SAVR tomato. This tomato has a longer shelf life than conventional tomato, but in 1997 the Flavr Savr was pulled off the grocery shelves due to economic difficulties. The marketplace began embracing GMO technology and by 1999 over 100 million acres worldwide are planted with genetically engineered seeds. GMOs are referred to as crop plants that are created for human and/or animal consumption which have been genetically modified in laboratories. In 1997 scientist have figured out how to stack genes (combining more than one trait from the same plant) and it is estimated that 89 percent of all soybeans and 61 percent of all corn grown in the United States has been genetically engineered(International Food Information Council, 2007).

The FDA approved genetically engineered corn, soy, cotton, canola, potato, squash and tomato for commercialization in 1995 and since then the amount of crops genetically engineered has been steadily increasing. The genes are often altered to render the plant resistant to either insects or herbicides. You are likely eating genetically engineered potato chips or potato chips that have been fried in canola, corn or soy oil. In the United States and most of the world people are consuming large amounts of genetically modified foods and don’t even realize. In 1994 the FDA approved genetically modified organisms for food crops and approval for GMO crops by the FDA has increased since. The number of crops since 2012 approved by the FDA has been 144 crops. Crops that have herbicide-tolerant traits are widely and rapidly adopted in the United States and out of the 144 crops approved by the FDA roughly around 75 percent are genetically engineered to withstand direct applications of herbicides and/or contain an insecticide BT toxin.

Countries with poor resources can benefit from biotechnology which will help provide more stable crops. Genetically modified crops can increase the nutritional quality of agricultural products and also help reduce season planting problems and cut cost. Crops can be produced to be resistant to herbicide which means they can be sprayed with herbicide to kill weeds and the crops will not be affected. This will help reduce the amount of herbicide used and a reduction in cost for the farmers and consumers. Cost for genetically modified foods may be expensive in the initial stages of research but, in the end this option will cost less overall for farmers due to the reduction in pesticide and herbicide which will help produce higher yields of quality product. Legal and ethical concerns that GMOs present are an ongoing debate.

People wonder if it is ethical to file intellectual property on the genetic sequence of an organism. Biotech companies argue that IP-based revenue is used to promote further research and some worry that ownership of a particular sequence prevents widespread research and hinders scientific discovery. The U.S Supreme court ruled that patents cannot be filed on naturally occurring human gene sequences, but this ruling left room for loopholes and does not apply to GMO products. Legal debates are far from over. The political implications on genetic engineering in the world of science and around the world are a controversial topic. It is evident that with population on the rise there will not be enough production of food to sustain the needs of the growing population. This could be a possible solution to help sustain the world food supply.

Research and testing is helping raise livestock and grow crops more efficiently. There are many concerns behind the genetic practices and over the safety of genetically modified foods on humans. The natural balance of the environment also needs to be raised to include the impact that genetically modifying food will have on the environment. The question is can genetically modified foods be a good solution to help feed the growing population and what are the pros and cons associated with the social, ethical and scientific implications? How difficult would it be to segregate genetically modified organisms from other organisms and what effects could this introduction of new genes into the natural context of the environment have? Tests conducted on genetically modified crops only look at short-term effects not what effects it could have in the long range.

Genetic structure on any living thing is very intricate and complex. The consequences that technology of genetically modified organism could have on the environment is not known and a system as complex as genetic codes is not something to take lightly and should not be taken for granted without knowing all the facts. Despite the legal, ethical and environmental controversies surrounding GMO products there is potential on many different research horizons. Genetic engineering could prove to be a useful tool to help address the increasing rate of population and the problem of global hunger must be addressed. It is important to weigh the benefits and consequences and not dismiss this technology before we have all the facts. There needs to be more research to help evaluate the safety of genetic engineering and to realize its full potential for scientific discovery. We will discuss throughout the rest of this paper the advantages and disadvantages of genetically modifying foods and crops.

There needs to be further studies conducted to fully understand the effects this could have on human health and also on the environment. The concerns raised by environmental groups, religious organizations, political interest groups and government officials, scientist and different associations about genetically modified foods are criticized for businesses pursuing profits without worrying about the potential hazards and also for the government’s failure to exercise any regulatory oversight. Everyone has an opinion on GMOs and until we have further information we have to assume that it could be a good solution to our growing population and food supply, but we need to take the necessary precautions before we find ourselves worse off.

There are many political issues with genetically modified organisms, but the one that most people pay attentions to is “should labeling be required when dealing with genetically modified organisms?” Currently the United States does not require labeling for genetically modified organisms. Let me take some to time to explain what the term labeling means. When genetically modified foods have a label on it, it states that it was made from genetically modified crops. The United States and Canada are the only countries that do not require labeling on genetically modified foods. There are 50 countries in the world that either ban genetically modified organisms completely or have a lot of restrictions on it.

The labeling of genetically modified foods has been known to cause concerns. There are several positive and negative arguments of labeling genetically modified organisms. One positive argument of labeling genetically modified organisms is that consumers have the right to know what is in their food. Another positive argument about labeling genetically modified organisms is that it will allow consumers to stay away from the food that causes them problems. A negative argument of labeling genetically modified organisms is that it may imply a warning about health issues. Another negative argument of labeling genetically modified organisms is it will impose a cost on all consumers. As of right now it does not look like the United States requirements for labeling genetically modified organism will change anytime soon.

There are not any requirements for the way food is labeled, but there are federal bills in play that could change the way genetically modified foods are labeled in the future. There are a few states that approved the legislation for requiring labels on genetically modified organisms. The first state that approved the legislation was Connecticut and that happened in 2003. Recently Maine was the second state to approve the legislation. These legislations that were approved will not go into effect until more of the northeastern states endorse a similar legislation. New Hampshire House rejected a GMO labeling bill. Just this year alone 67 genetically modified organisms labeling bills have been presented in 25 states. Last year in 2013 there were 110 genetically modified organisms bills presented in 32 states.

Currently there are four states with pending legislations on GMO labeling; these states include California, Missouri, Minnesota and Rhode Island. Along with the states that have the pending legislations, there are a few more states that are trying to put the GMO labeling question on the ballot. The states that are trying to put the question on the ballot are Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, and Oregon. Last year Washington voters rejected the genetically modified organism ballot; and that ballot turned out to be the most expensive ballot question ever.

In the United States three different government agencies have jurisdiction over the genetically modified organism foods. The agencies include Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration. The EPA evaluates genetically modified plants for environmental safety. The EPA also conducts risk assessment studies on pesticides that could cause harm to human health and the environment. The USDA evaluates whether the plant is safe to grow or not. The USDA is responsible for all the genetically modified organism crops that do not fall under the umbrella of the EPA; an example of the crops that the USDA handles are drought tolerant, and disease tolerant crops. The USDA has several internal divisions which all share the responsibility for assessing genetically modified organism foods.

The divisions that are included in the USDA are the Animal Health and Plant Inspection Service, the Agricultural Research Service, and the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service. The FDA evaluates whether the plant is safe to eat or not. The FDA believes that genetically modified organism foods are substantially equivalent to unmodified, natural foods, and is not subject to FDA regulations. A lot of companies that are working on new genetically modified foods are not required to consult with the FDA, nor do they have to follow the FDA’s recommendations. The current FDA policy was created in 1992 and it states that companies may voluntarily ask the FDA for a consultation. The FDA agency does not have the time, money or resources to carry out the safety studies of all the genetically modified food products.

Everyone might not support genetically modified organisms, but they are very cost effective. The genetic engineering crops can be grown and survive longer than organic crops. When using genetically engineered crops such as insect resistant crops saves money because they require less pesticides to be used. These genetically modified crops will help all farmers save money as well as help them gain profits.

There are many economic advantages for genetically modified foods. Some of the advantages are pest resistance, herbicide tolerance, disease resistance, nutrition, and pharmaceuticals. There are many fungi and bacteria that can cause plant diseases. Some biologists are working on genetically engineered crops that will prevent the fungi and bacteria that cause the diseases. Herbicide is a spray that farmers use to destroy weeds instead of removing the weed physically themselves. Spraying herbicides is a time consuming and expensive process. The herbicides could potentially harm the crops and the environment.

Pesticide resistance is said to be one of the most damaging impacts that genetically engineered crops have caused in the economy. Farmers typically use many tons of chemical pesticides annually. People do not want to eat food that has been treated with pesticides because of the potential health hazards. There are millions of acres of farmlands in the United States that are infested by weeds that have become resistant to herbicide. The “Roundup Ready” trait has promoted the accelerated development of resistance in several weed species. The “Roundup Ready” trait was engineered to tolerate the herbicide. In order for farmers to fight these weeds they have to use more toxic herbicides. There are some companies that are working to develop new genetically engineered crops to tolerate the older herbicides, but there is no guarantee that the same thing as before will not happen again.

Along with economic advantages, there are also disadvantages. Some people believe that the farmers are the biggest losers when it comes to genetically modified agriculture. It is believed that farmers are tricked with deceptive advertising. Although genetically modified crops can produce a little more corn than organic crops; genetically modified crops reduces other output from the plant for example seeds, leaves, roots etc. Organic crops serve as food for earthworms, fungi, and other beneficial insects that will turn it into fertilizer for the next crop. The genetically modified organism can decimate the communities of organisms that create soil, so that the farmer is stuck wondering why their soil fertility drops every year.

In countries like India, the people are afraid that if they switch over to genetically modified organisms many people will lose their jobs. India is a country with over 1.1 billion people and it continues to grow. There are over 600 million farmers in India, and if they were to start using genetically modified organisms then over 580 million farmers will be looking for work. There are no other job industry in India that is creating this many jobs. It would not be logical for India farmers to switch to genetically modified crops. They would go from about 580 million farmers to only 20 million farmers; that just an impact that it will have on India’s economy.

Genetically Modified Organisms has been a growing hot button issue over the past decade. As time has come and gone, many farmers have started growing cheaper genetically modified crops, which have created a surplus of genetically modified food. This has created a lot of tension between consumers and suppliers and now many of these consumers are demanding that the genetically modified foods be properly labeled. This has caused a sort of media frenzy along with many negative psychological and sociological effects because these consumers don’t know what they are putting in their body.

It has become increasingly evident that genetically modified foods (genetically altered in an unnatural way) make people exceptionally uneasy, because they are unhealthy and to be completely honest, they don’t know what exactly is in it. Many consumers are starting to publicly ponder what sort of long term health risks might be associated with genetically modified foods, even though in 1992 the FDA announced that these GMO’s are generally safe, it is safe to assume that time has also been a factor in people’s restlessness. During this economic turmoil that the United States is suffering (an estimated 17 trillion dollars), many farmers have been looking for any and all possible ways of cutting their agricultural costs so their profit margins can become higher. Genetically modified crops have been the answer, especially with all the companies that have a current high demand for them, these farmers have definitely exploited that demand.

You can’t really blame them as it’s really these corporations trying to cut cost when there mass producing these food products (especially frozen foods). They are numerous citizen outreach groups, like the Coalition for Safe Affordable Foods aim to lower costs but keep the same healthy quality food and as time continues these groups will only become stronger and stronger simply because of how many people are starting to realize how unhealthy their daily food from grocery stores actually is. The labeling uproar is only the first step in what promises to be a lengthy process to make America’s food increasingly healthy. These Genetically modified crops are planted in fields similar to regular crops and they interact directly with different organisms that would normally feed on the crops and would interact incidentally with other creatures in the food chain.

Again like normal crops, the pollen from the engineered crop is released into the environment, which has led to serious concerns about the possible effects that genetically engineered crops on other species and about the gene flow, the transfer of alleles (a number of alternative forms of same gene or same genetic locus) or genes from one population to another. In reality these lower agricultural costs aren’t the only useful trait that genetically engineered crops can have. Since they are genetically engineered, companies and farmers can chose exactly what they want to genetically altered. Some common useful traits for genetically engineered crops are resistance to pests/herbicides, able to increase nutritional value, and for the production of other valuable goods such as pharmaceutical drugs. These crops, while under development, are able to thrive in environmental conditions outside the species native range. Obviously there are some big negatives with genetically engineered crops, most of which have been made relatively public, but there are some positives if companies start using genetically altered plants in a more responsible manner.

The willingness of consumers to pay a premium price for organic foods (food not genetically modified) has come at a time when genetically modified foods have come under scrutiny. Studies, like Lusk JL, Jamal M. Kurlander L, Roucan M, Taulman L, whom created a meta-analysis of genetically modified food valuation studies found, in a review of 25 studies, found a premium of 29 percent for non-genetically modified foods. These studies also revealed that Europeans are much more willing to pay a premium for non-GM foods than their American counterpart. This is also consistent with public policy, as there are required labeling of all genetically modified. In the United States, although there may be change in the future due to a large increase in consumer’s demand to know exactly what is going in their body, still has no labeling policies.

The one exception in the United States is Whole Foods, who independently (mainly because they view themselves as the healthy grocery store compared to the Food Lions, Walmart, and Targets of the world) announced at Natural Products Expo West in March 2013, that all products in every store in the United States and Canada “must be labeled to indicate if they contain genetically modified organisms (GMO)” per Whole Foods press release. As of late, genetic modification of food has been associated with a great deal of media attention, although technically this rise of media coverage was by the spring of 1999 (add). With the rise of GMO awareness groups (especially when considering food) media attention has risen in the past decade due to consumer complaints have also led to a more close eye on what exactly is going on, and further investigation into what we, as a country, are putting into our body. Through all of the media frenzy and consumer uproar, eat healthy movements have led many of these consumers to question the validity of the GMO companies claiming their products are healthy.

Many people are looking to European countries as evidence on how to run a healthy country, but in reality there is a great deal of precaution (an important theme in international relation, especially in environment and public health instances) has been a very delicate question in transatlantic relations, especially pertaining to regulation laws. This precaution usually stems from the differences in laws in how genetically modified foods can be shipped from country to country. GMO’s are good examples of how regulatory laws greatly vary from country to country (the European Union has much more strict regulatory laws compared to the United States). There has been a positive trend especially at the state/community level, where in some cases there has been extensive legislation and policy changes over the past quarter century. I think that the biggest mystery in all this genetically modified food chaos is the FDA’s lack of influence, which has in turn created tension between them and various states and has ultimately caused a guessing game in the grocery aisle for many customers.

The common thought between consumers is that the FDA has not played nearly enough roles when regulating genetically modified foods. Due to their negligence farms are rapidly increasing their use of genetically modified crops (which have a significantly lower cost per square foot then natural crops), which has increased their presence in food. A perfect example of a drastic rise in genetically modified ingredients is the soybean in the United States over only the last 10 years. In 1997 17 percent of the soybean acreage was genetically modified, and today that percentage is upwards of an astounding 93 percent. The FDA’s presence would be a great benefit to the “eat healthy movements”, and at some point they will be forced to make their move.

It is understandable that consumers are now standing up and demanding to know if GMO’s are present in their food. It is their right, and unfortunately due to the United States nature of catering to big business (i.e. oil/gas prices) it is taken away. There have been many positive strides in this eat healthy front, and the numbers of these groups will only continue to rise, especially if the FDA doesn’t step in. Consumers have a right to know what is in their food, and until they achieve that right, they will fight for themselves and for the children of America.

Genetically modified organisms have brought good news and a brighter future for many, but have also been called into question by our ethics. Genetically modified organisms or GMOs, have had a huge impact when it comes to foods and its production along with any other areas it may touch. There is a vast spectrum, from ending world hunger to being able to produce indulgent, yet unnecessary, foods like burgers in a lab (Lynas, 2014). It’s a truly fascinating thing to see such unimaginable science at work; and the endless, and quite unclear, possibilities it may bring. With an infinite amount of uncertain prospects, should there be some rules, standards, or guidelines set in place and reinforced for those who are practicing the science? Society has witnessed how technology can benefit us, but we have also come to realize the many downsides following close behind. Society needs to take the time to analyze both sides of the spectrum related to genetically modified organisms, crops, and food, when it comes to our environment, our morals, and our ethics.

Golden rice is one of the most talked about gifts produced by GMOs. The GMOs that created golden rice have made it possible for it to produce beta-carotene, in hopes of reducing vitamin A deficiency (Lynas, 2014). An independent humanitarian board runs the project, though there are doubts as to where the technological producers’ intentions truly lie. Society has seen the interests they have in looking for ways to end world hunger, but the revenue GMOs also produce can be a strong motivational factor. Malnutrition has been a problem for some unfortunate countries, most of which are undeveloped and poverty stricken. Countries who either cannot plant crops due to lack of fertile land, or do not have the money to buy nourishment. When something as precious as golden rice looks so appealing and promising, why is it that there are organizations such as Greenpeace rising against these “good crops”? (Lynas, 2014) Genetically modified organisms are beneficial in many ways. The GMOs used to cultivate a new class of crops, known as genetically modified crops, have a list of other valuable qualities besides its fruitful fields.

Think about a farmer’s market or any other store where you may do your grocery shopping. Now imagine it being filled with many colorful and delightful looking vegetables and fruits, a real lavish produce dream. That dream is not far from becoming true if GM crops were able to truly flourish. There are crops, such as the Bt brinjal (genetically modified eggplant variation). Bt brinjal are resistant to certain complications that farmers must combat during the harvest. Having resistant genetically modified crops would remove the need to spray insecticides, thus reducing exposure of carcinogenic residues for both farmers and consumers (Lynas, 2014). Mark Lynas said in his article titled Good Crops, “These crops can reduce the use of environmentally damaging agrochemicals, and several have been developed by public-sector organizations concerned with food security, the reduction of poverty, and sustainability.”

The lists of advantages GM crops have shown so far in our environment bring some people hope for a rich future. There is the opportunity to better the environment, our morals, and our ethics with these advanced crops. The ability to produce a crop that will yield abundant bounties could reduce the need to look for more fertile land. With less land, but a bigger harvest, the environment and its inhabitants could certainly thrive. Also, GM crops that are more resistant allow our environment to be less polluted by insecticides, pesticides, and other undesirable toxins (Caplan, 2013). There is this strong chance that genetically modified crops, and their fruits, can prove the grass is greener on the other side. And though the unvisited sight seems attractive and somewhat necessary, would one dare to venture off into an unknown area? The remarkable technology of genetically modified crops and foods has much to offer. Nonetheless there are unintended consequences that are growing silently, and even though they are not completely formulated, they must be addressed.

Unintended consequences are unforeseen outcomes society must face when it is determined to proceed with a decision, a course of action. There are many reasons why these consequential drawbacks arise, some that are inevitably unavoidable (Vernon, 1979). Researchers are only humans who make mistakes, and can overlook small details, which can lead to hapless outcomes. Like with any technology, genetically modified organisms should not be dismissed as inconsequential. There are still many unanswered questions scientists have yet to address when it comes to genetically modified crops. The main reason is that genetically modified technology is still in the early stages. There is a vast array of knowledge in the subject, yet there is still a lot of experimentation required in order to consider GMOs stable and safe. The author of the Impact of GMO on Environment and Human Health Jai Godheja shares some scary, but possible unintended consequences GM crops can lead to in the near future. The most controversial term being used on the topic of GM crops is genetic pollution, which basically describes what could happen when genetically modified organisms contaminate organisms unintendedly.

Genetic pollution can affect the ecological system in many ways. The uncontrolled flow of genetic information being released by GM crops can cause organic or untreated organisms, to completely be wiped out (Godheja, 2013). GMOs are not organic, and if they were to poison our entire environment, nothing would be considered natural anymore. Recently, there was an interview with a farmer who was growing organic fruit, but when tested, the end product had traces of GMOs. This discovery lead to people questioning what they are consuming. Farmers have everything to gain, but what of the people ingesting the supposed “safe” yet unidentified creations? Not to mention, the environment is ever-changing, evolving, and modifying to be able to survive in its own natural way. Therefore the, now modified as well, organisms that have always attacked the farmer’s harvest can, and more than likely will, find a way to develop resistance against pesticides and herbicides at hand (Godheja, 2013). Suddenly our delightful, and prosperous, dreams start to turn into a bitter nightmare.

As the saying goes, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” just as well can be said about our nightly thoughts. One person’s dreams could be another’s nightmares. The world is filled with numerous cultures that each has their own ideas, opinions, religion, and thoughts on how individuals should live their life. The ethics and morals of people, already seen as not being defined clearly by any one populace, extend even more when thought about on a global scale. The rights and wrongs could be flipped; the evils of some can be seen as blessings to others, and the good can be interpreted as wicked depending on the mentality. Now throw in a contentious subject matter like GMOs, and heads are bound to clash. Some agree GM crops are extensively worthwhile and should be fully supported, while the opposing side calls into question not only its safety but its ethical issues as well.

Al-Hayani states in his article, “God has commanded us to seek knowledge and make discoveries to better our lives and our environment” (Al-Hayani, 2007). However, due to the diverse mindsets, the definition of what may be better is uncertain. Ethics is defined as the study of “doing the right thing,” so what people must figure out and come to a conclusion is whether genetically modified food is ethical. For some this question is not easily answered because there are numerous, both good and bad, things to consider. Furthermore even when those considerations are taken into account and categorized, one can still stand as undecided. An individuals’ ethics can lie all over the place, and never be clearly defined. Ethics are what make each person who they are, and can swiftly change depending on the circumstances they find themselves under. One shouldn’t be judge by their actions, but it does help outline their code of ethics and morals.

Religion has a huge impact on many of our ethics. Everything created by God is considered natural and blessed by God, thus there is nothing unethical about his creations (Sandu, 2010). GMOs are not considered natural because humans have created them, and God himself even though he created the means cannot bless them. “According to its kind” is the statement Sandu repeats in his article as a biblical quotation, in order for his audience to understand God created grass and trees that would produce seeds that would in return produce more fruitful trees. The trees produced were pure breeds, or “good species.” There was the chance of crossbreeding, but this was still considered naturally hybrid because there was no human interaction involved (Sandu, 2010). A rule of thumb to remember in this context is once humans have interfered with natural processes, for example putting two species unlikely to crossbreed in an enclosed area for that intention, then immediately the creation becomes tarnished—unnatural.

Consequently it is then believed to be unethical by some. Yet others would agree the benefits GMOs have provided are ethically sound. Going back to Al-Hayani’s statement, the creation of GMOs, though unnatural, has shown some promise in bettering our lives and our environment. Genetically modified crops have provided an abundance of produce, as well as improved products like golden rice, in order to better our lives and that of others in need. With that said, GMOs would seem to be accepted as ethically sound. It is the people’s social responsibility to address and seek solutions to problems such as world hunger. Society is currently at a point where it has acknowledged problems alike and are searching, even found, answers. It is said that poverty has seen a larger decrease in the past fifty years, than the prior five centuries (Al-Hayani, 2007).

There is no denying the many benefits technology, referring back to our topic of GMOs, can provide to improve our world. One couldn’t imagine such commendable technology being questioned or seen as unethical when it is providing society with indefinite aforementioned results. And even so it holds its skeptics. With all the technology available to us, there are some individuals who make the mistake of believing we control nature. It’s unwelcomed by some to think nature controls us, and unacceptable to give in to the idea we will never have complete control of our environment. Genetically engineered technologies continue to garner mixed feelings. The unstable technology has been able to deliver assistance to society, but even the worldly provided benefits have been called into question considering its enigma.

Though we may not all have the same beliefs, there is one statement that stands out and should be remembered by us all: “God didn’t make a mistake, no matter how much we’ll strive or boast, trying to transform ourselves in creators, we can’t arrange things better than the way He did” (Sandu, 2010). There is so much technology that serves many outcomes to our people, our society, our environment, and our future. All in all, it’s important to always keep, not one’s, but everybody’s best interest in mind.

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Genetically modified organisms Essay

Genetically modified organisms Essay
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  • University/College:
    University of Chicago

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Words: 1252

  • Pages: 5

Genetically modified organisms

Genetically modified foods (GMF) have foreign genes such as plants, animals and bacteria inserted into their genetic codes. Genetically modified organism is processed in a way that does not occur naturally. Combining genes from different organisms is known as recombinant DNA technology. There are alternative names for genetically modified foods, such as “genetically engineered,” “biotechnology,” “genetic modification,” or “transgenic.

” Genetically modified organisms allows scientist to speed up the process by moving desired genes from one plant into another, sometimes from an animal to a plant, for example they take a genetic material from a number of different sources from virus and bacteria and they insert it into the soybean plant, which herbicide usually kills the plant but because of the genetic modified organism it does not. Genetic modified food is dangerous because it greatly expands the scope for horizontal gene transfer and recombination; this process creates new viruses and bacteria that cause disease, epidemics, and trigger cancerous cells.

Genetically modified foods are dangerous because it can cause harmful effects on human health (“What are Genetically Modified (GM) Foods GM Products: Benefits and Controversies”). Many foods in the United States contain genetically modified organism, such as corn, soy, sugar and aspartame. In most of the foods we eat today contain those ingredients and most people do not even realize that they are eating genetically modified food because labeling the food is not mandatory in most of the United States.

The reason scientist developed genetically modified organism is because they believe it will provide more nutritious food, tastier food, cheaper food supply, ability to farm in unfavorable climates, faster growing plants and animals, possibility of disease fighting foods, improving the lives of farmers and less pesticides used but there are many risk that cancel out the potential good of genetically modified organism, for example endocrine disruptors, organ damage, decreased fertility, increased allergies, and more pesticide resistance.

However Europe is protesting against genetically modified foods since they were first created. Studies in Europe say “The science of taking genes from one species and inserting them into another was supposed to be a giant leap forward, but instead they pose a serious threat to biodiversity and our own health” (“What are Genetically Modified (GM) Foods GM Products: Benefits and Controversies,”). UK says “The simple truth is, we do not need genetically modified technology in order to possess future food security.

Using sustainable and organic farming methods will allow us to repair the damage done by industrial farming, reducing the excessive use of fertilizer, herbicides and other man-made chemicals, and making genetically modified crops redundant” (“Genetically Engineered Crops”). The United States does not realize that it is bad for you but Europe, UK, Japan, and Australia bans all genetically modified foods for their safety and health. In the United States the FDA does not require any safety test for genetically modified foods because they know majority of people will not buy genetically modified foods.

European has been the most concerned with genetically modified foods, everyone one should be concerned about these important factors (Gardner). Genetically modified food has many dangerous effects on the world, for instance genetically modified foods actually lose nutritional content in the process of altering their genetic genes. Some genetically modified foods may contain higher levels of allergens and toxins, which can have negative outlook on the personal health of those who eat genetic foods.

Viruses and bacteria are used in the process of modifying foods, which means that there is a possibility that they could cause the development of a new disease. Also genetically modified foods could potentially cause damage to other organisms in the ecosystems where they are grown. If these organisms are killed off, it leads to a loss of biodiversity in the environment (“What are Genetically Modified (GM) Foods GM Products: Benefits and Controversies,”).

Animals and people have become seriously ill or died from genetically modified foods because bacteria have been inserted into our food and our bodies cannot fight off these diseases. Even our environment has been damaged because gene pollution cannot be cleaned up, once genetically modified organisms, such as bacteria and viruses are released into the air it is difficult to recall or contain them. Toxins have also been the cause of killing people and animals by one or more extremely poisonous substances that unexpectedly appeared in this food supplement.

Single genes should not be transferred to a foreign environment; their effects are unknown and therefore cause unknown harmful effects to the human health: “The reason that genetically engineered food could be dangerous is because there has been no adequate testing to ensure that extracting genes that perform an apparently useful function as part of that plant or animal is going to have the same effects if inserted into a totally unrelated species. A number of studies over the past decade have revealed that genetically engineered foods can pose serious risks to humans, domesticated animals, wildlife and the environment.

Human health effects can include higher risks of toxicity, allergenicity, antibiotic resistance, immune-suppression and cancer. As for environmental impacts, the use of genetic engineering in agriculture will lead to uncontrolled biological pollution, threatening numerous microbial, plant and animal species with extinction, and the potential contamination of all non-genetically engineered life forms with novel and possibly hazardous genetic material” (“Genetically Engineered Crops”).

Monsanto is an agricultural company that first produced genetically modified foods. Monsanto is not worried about health of others; there main concern is the business. They hear of many lives being in danger from genetically modified food but they are not concerned with this because they are making money. There is no long-term safety testing for genetically modified food. Genetic engineering uses material from organisms that have never been part of the human food supply to change the fundamental nature of the food we eat.

Without long-term testing no one knows if these foods are safe. . They say, “There is no need for, or value in testing the safety of GM foods in humans” (Wilcox). Genetically modified foods are bad for everyone because it can cause harm to humans, animals and the environment. Genetically modified food should be tested, and labeled so humans have the choice to purchase the food items or keep away from them.

The main reason the United States has not banned genetically modified food is simply because most people do not even know what foods contain these harmful ingredients. If the FDA made a law that genetically modified foods are to be labeled many families would chose not to eat those foods because of the dangers it causes to the world. Work Cited Wilcox, Christine. “The very real dangers of genetically modified foods. ”. The Atlantic, 9 2012. Web. 12 Nov 2012. Genetically Engineered Crops. Center for food safety, 5 2012.

Web. 12 Nov 2012. “Genetically Modified Foods and Organisms. ” What are Genetically Modified (GM) FoodsGM Products: Benefits and Controversies. U. S. Department of Energy Genome Programs, 17 2012. Web. 12 Nov 2012. Gardner, Richard. “Pros and Cons of GM Foods. ” Arguments for GM Foods, Arguments Against GM Foods. N. p. , 30 2012. Web. 12 Nov 2012. Villano, Caren. “Genetically Modified Foods. ” What are genetically modified foods, Advantages, Types of genetically modified crops. N. p. , n. d. Web. 12.


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Genetically modified organisms Essay

Genetically modified organisms Essay
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  • University/College:
    University of California

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Words: 902

  • Pages: 4

Genetically modified organisms

GM can be used to improve the quality of foods as well as increase the number of crops created. This can lead to more quality crops being produced and supplied to the consumers. I find that this is economically beneficial for the country. GM can enhance the taste and quality of foods. Maturation time for the foods can be reduced. Due to genetic modification there will be an increase in nutrients and yields. There will be an improved resistance towards disease, pests and herbicides (1). Genetic Modification is also used in animals to increase resistance, productivity, hardiness and feed efficiency.

GM can also enhance better yields of meat, milk and other dairy products. Due to GM animal health can also be improved (1). GM also affects the environment in the sense that bio herbicides and bio insecticides are used. Soil, water and energy are saved (1). Genetic Modification can cause an increased food security for growing populations, which can be beneficial to the third world countries. If for example a tomato is taken and genetically modified to change the molecular structure in order to make it larger in size, tastier by adding more flavour, juicier and lasting longer.

The tomato can last longer if a “frost free” fish gene is implanted to make the tomato tolerate cold conditions (4). In my opinion I think that if GM technology is used in fruits it will encourage more people to eat and enjoy fruit, which is healthy for them. These kinds of foods will be cheaper to purchase than organic foods. In my opinion this is beneficial for those people who come from a poorer background and who cannot afford to purchase quality goods at the expensive price. When GM technology is used the prices are lowered so everyone can enjoy the food.

These advantages could, in turn, lead to a number of potential benefits, especially in the longer-term, for the consumer, industry, agriculture and the environment. For example there would be an improvement in agricultural performance, reduced usage of pesticides and herbicides, the ability to grow crops in inhospitable environments and the removal of allergens or toxic components (2). Scientists have found no evidence that GM foods pose as a risk to human health (5) However there are disadvantages to genetically modified organisms.

A major disadvantage is that this technology may not work. I believe that if the technology does not work it will cause a great deal of loss economically. In this case if the technology does not work it may produce or create a disease, which may not be curable. This is because it may have inherited an antibiotic resistance gene, which will prevent the illness from being treated (3). Also GM technology is an interference to natural evolution as it is interfering with nature. Therefore it can be dangerous to humans as they can also develop allergies (5).

I feel that researchers are taking a large risk by researching GMO’s as it can cause long-term diseases, which may not be treated because of lack of knowledge about the disease and the side effects. If GM works, there could be a domination of world food production by only a few companies. So once again the third world countries are being left out. There could also be bio piracy, which is foreign exploitation of natural resources. Ethical issues have also been raised during the research as many people consider it to be incorrect and immoral.

It has been reported that many companies are supporting this research because they can invest more money and receive an increase in profits. The farmers are going to however buy more expensive GM seeds in order to grow their crop a year later, which can have detrimental effects on their livelihoods as they may not be able to keep up with payments. “Activist groups claimed that GM crops were in effect ‘green concrete’ and would ‘wipe out’ wildlife (news article). Company owners will try to persuade the public to support GM investigate, as they will gain a large amount of profit from doing so. GM technology is a violation of natural organisms.

It is tampering with nature by mixing genes among different species. Many people have objections in consuming animal genes in plants and vice versa. If an animal is being genetically modified it could cause stress to the animal. After much consideration I have come up with the conclusion that GM technology and research is a waste of time and money as it carries a huge amount of risks and dangers that can harm humans and wildlife as well as the environment.. I feel that more research is required before any more procedures are carried out because there is a lack of knowledge about GM technology.

Until risks have been prevented I do not think that the protestors of GM technology will accept this technology. To conclude with I think that there are more disadvantages than advantages and until they have been dealt with it will not be a successful procedure. Therefore in my opinion and in the views of the protestors of GM technology it should not be carried out. This research should not be considered if it is harmful to humans. If the risks could be prevented or decreased this process could be successful.


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