All about GMOs–safe or dangerous?

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All about GMOs–safe or dangerous?

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“The genetically engineered bacteria could have ended all plant life on this continent. The implications of this single case are nothing short of terrifying,” scientist David Suzuki reports.

What are these genetically modified organisms which humans from all different places on the globe consume? A genetically modified organism (GMO) is an organism whose genetic material such as deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) has been transferred into a different organism. These transfers are conducted in laboratories with careful inspection. GMOs are used in all sorts of crops like tomatoes, soybeans, and rice. Despite the fact that the United States of America is the number one user of GMOS, several countries like Brazil and China use them, too.

The first genetically modified crop was sold in the United States of America. According to the Regents of the University of California,  this crop was grown in 1994 by Calgene, a biotechnology company. Calgene modified their tomatoes so that they could be edible for a longer period of time. For the past two decades, there has been a heated debate on whether GMOs are safe for humans or not.

According to Professor Peter Goldsbrough at Purdue University, “The main reasons farmers use genetic modification in crops is for herbicide resistance and insect resistance.” This means that crops grown by farmers are immune to insects and herbicides, resulting the plants to grow simply and safely.

Whether GMOs are safe for consumers’ health or not has many different perspectives. The National Academy of Sciences reported that GMOs are proven to be neither beneficial or harmful to human health. “The genes and DNA that are transported to crops do not have any allergic reactions or other health matters.” Over the two decades that GMO foods have been on the market, no evidence of any health problems have risen. However, as technology becomes more advanced, this could change in the near future.

Another outlook is that GMOs are harmful to human health. According to the Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT), GMOs are threatening to the health of humans. “By mixing genes from totally unrelated species, genetic engineering unleashes a host of unpredictable side effects. Moreover, irrespective of the type of genes that are inserted, the very process of creating a genetically modified plant can result in massive collateral damage that produces new toxins, allergens, carcinogens, and nutritional deficiencies.” IRT believes that mixing genes of different species is fraught with danger. It is in no way benefiting the health of any human as it is just making it worse.

To get another perspective on GMOs, Ms. Garcia, a science teacher at AdVenture STEM, was asked what she thought of GMOs. She responded, “The media has done a good job of scaring people into the misconception that GMOs are dangerous or bad for you, but with a little bit of scientific knowledge, you can understand that this is not so. Once people understand that GMOs are not evil, we can grow our understanding of the technologies available to feed the world.” Ms. Garcia indicated that the press misleads the public about the dangers of GMOs. She believes that if the world understands that GMOs pose no risks to human health, the technology could help nourish the world.

To wrap it up,  if scientists learn more about GMOs and share that knowledge with others, then consumers can understand what GMOs truly are. As technology becomes more advanced,  scientists will be able to go more in-depth with this interesting field. Genetically modified organisms have the potential of changing the world.