“GeneticallyModified Organisms (GMO) are organisms whose genetic composition hasbeen altered through genetic engineering method”[ CITATION Nor15 l 1033 ].The modification process of the genetic material involves aninsertion of a gene from either a bacteria or a virus into anorganism with the goal of producing new features. The topic of GMOhas resulted in ideological schism over ethical and health concernssurrounding the issue. The paper elucidates of various viewsconcerning the genetic engineering process and GMO at large.
GMOproponents claim that genetic engineering process has helped farmersgrow crops immune to diseases hence improving yields. According toPamela Ronald, the injection of papaya with a virus has helped bringup plants resistant to diseases[ CITATION TED15 l 1033 ].Additionally, she has brought up the topic of genetic engineering,claiming it is the cheapest and efficient method that farmers can useto achieve agricultural production[ CITATION TED15 l 1033 ].The modification of seeds or plants such as rice allows crops resistharsh weather conditions, thus lowering the risk of crop failure.
Theuse of genetic engineering is favorable to the environment sincefewer or no chemicals are needed to control insecticides[ CITATION Mea13 l 1033 ].Additionally, GMO crops require relatively less machinery, and timethus help in reducing soil erosion and environmental pollution. Thereis enhanced productivity since farmers grow crops such as cotton andcorn without the use of insecticides these GMO crops yield theirinsecticides.Therefore, GMO production of crops has proven to be cost effective.
Theuse of genetic engineering in food crops has raised mixed reactionsamong consumers, with most people suggesting labeling of GMO foods. Atroublesome issue with GMO foods is the ability to induce allergy inhumans[ CITATION Nor15 l 1033 ].Some of these bacteria and viruses used in this technology have beenretrieved from sources that cause allergic reactions. Moreover, genetransfer could have an allergic impact on the resultant organism. Thefact that genetic engineering process uses bacteria and viruses tomodify organisms’ genetic material it poses a health peril andfear of occurrence of new diseases.
Geneticengineering could induce antibiotic-resistant bacteria that are hardto kill. The infections caused by antibiotic-resistant germs are over2 million, annually[ CITATION Nor15 l 1033 ].The use of antibiotic genes could result in antibiotic resistantbacteria. The use of GMO foods has also been linked to variousdiseases such as cancer, obesity, diabetes, stroke, and prematuredeath.
Geneticengineering process could lead to gene migration. Gene escape is aprocess where genes from one organism pass into another organism ofthe same species or even other species. There could be a graveproblem if herbicide-resistant genes passed into weeds[ CITATION Nor15 l 1033 ].Farmers would have to bear the cost of resistant weeds hencereducing production. However, scientific research on the subject hasbeen inconclusive with researchers having divided reactions andviews.
Thetopic on GMO substance has faced a lot of controversies over theconsumption of GMO foods. The safety aspect of GMO has beenemphasized numerous instances with scientists and healthprofessionals being divided on the issue. The rising health concernshave led to various policy measures in the food industry to ensureconsumer protection. Additionally, consumers are demanding labelingpractices to ensure that the consumer is aware of the food he or sheconsumes. More research studies ought to be conducted to establishthe health implications of GMO products on humans.
Meador, R. (2013). Genetically modified foods: A 30-year history of promise still unrealized. Earth Journal, 1-4. Retrieved from: https://www.minnpost.com/earth-journal/2013/05/genetically-modified-foods-30-year-history-promise-still-unrealized
Norer, R. (2015). Genetic Technology and Food Safety. New York: Springer.
TED (Director). (2015). The Case for engineering our food [Motion Picture].