IN SUPPORT:: Suzanne Vasquez, MarkFuller, Stephanie Camello, NhanTruong, Mel Lagunzad, and Nhauyen Tran.
WHAT IS A GENETICALLY WHY PRODUCE THE CROP? MODIFIED FOOD? As the world’s population GM (genetic modification) is a increases, a staggering amount special set of technologies that of people are undernourished alter the genetic makeup of because they lack the resources organisms such as to obtain the food they need. animals, plants, or bacteria. This shortage of food Combining genes from contributes not only to different organisms is known as starvation, but also to disease recombinant DNA technology. and malnutrition. The resulting organism is said It is estimated that by 2015, 582 to be “genetically million people in the modified”, “genetically developing countries will be engineered”, or transgenic”. undernourished. This will lead Therefore a GM food is one to more diseases and ultimately who’s genes have been altered more death. by combining them with the By producing foods that are of genes from a different better quality and have the organism. capability of lasting fresher longer, millions of people would have access to the resources needed to sustain life.
WHAT TYPES OF FOOD ARE GM? Rice: Genetically modified to contain high amounts of Vitamin A. Tomatoes: Made for longer shelf life and to prevent a substance that causes them to rot. Corn: Resistant to certain pesticides. Bananas: Currently being tested to produce human vaccines against infectious diseases such as Hepatitis B. Cows: Currently being tested to be resistant to Mad Cow Disease. Other GM foods include: Potatoes, papaya, squash, tobacco, sweet corn, and vegetable oil.
Genetic engineering involves “altering an organism’s genome to create a new and useful result.” Plasmid Method, Vector Method: cut DNA pieces match with other pieces to form beneficially selected genes to put into foods. Opponents might say it’s bad because it could cause prob’s if you mix these bacteria with other bacteria. However, it’s good because it does not actually mix with other bacteria outside a lab setting and can be used to clean up oil spills; will not mix with other foods, and will not make you sick. Biolistics: Selected DNA is attached to metal and fired out like a gun into target cells with a burst of pressured gas. Opponents might say it’s bad because it is the main way of making GM foods and therefore isn’t safe to eat. However, this is wrong because this method it is safe and done in a lab setting. It makes creating GM foods an efficient process. Gene Silencing: “silence” a gene by selecting the undesirable trait and attaching a 2nd copy the wrong way around – to make it inactive. Opposition might say it’s bad because it is seen as chopping and switching genes, saying it’s unnatural and unhealthy to inject these genes into foods. However, this is completely incorrect because this method is extremely beneficial (for example) in preventing peanuts and wheat from producing allergens that cause human allergies!
Gm involves inserting or deleting certain genes. All testing is safely performed in a lab setting. Expensive and easy only for trained scientists, but is extremely beneficial in several ways Too expensive? Actually, cost will pay off in future with excess food supply! Ineffective Methods? Actually, these methods are safe and can improve crop output, produce medicines, and potentially improve nutritional value of foods. Methods inadvertently introducing new food allergens? No, actually there is potential to improve food safety by eliminating them. Ex: peanuts.
Do genetically engineered foods cause allergic reactions? Individuals opposed to the genetic modification of foods may say that it causes allergic reactions or create new unknown allergens but in actuality if a reaction were to occur it would only arise in susceptible individuals that already have a myriad of allergens they are sensitive to. In addition to this examination of improbable health concerns those against GM might believe that there is no testing that’s gone under way to prevent possible allergens, but in reality many countries are now establishing regulatory procedures to observe these effects and approve on certain GM foods. These procedures are what lead to the abandonment of incorporating many potential risks into our foods, or removing them when they are discovered like the case of StarLink corn that had a GM protein that posed a potential allergen risk. Also the potential modification to eliminate many major allergens that individuals suffer from: Example: Peanuts, soy beans, etc…
What are gene mutations and do they affect genetically modified foods? Gene mutations occur when the involuntary inclusion of a new gene is inserted in an entirely different gene; this may disrupt the genome of organism giving rise to a potential mutation or any possible anomalies that may be harmful or beneficial to our health. Helpful gene mutations: Crop seeds able to withstand cold temperatures that would ordinarily not survive. Enhance the nutritional value of foods in order to provide the necessary nutrition to impoverished areas of the world.
The opponent may say: GM foods contain resistance genes telling where the material was transferred. AND that GM foods could spread diseases. It is true, but it has been an out of date technology. Now, methods remove antibiotic resistance from the plant afterwards, or make GM so the antibiotic resistance not transferred to the plants. Marker genes less dangerous than antibiotic resistance genes have also been developed. An overall ban can move the genetic engineering industry to stop using antibiotic resistance genes.
GE does not cause the loss of nutrition, but it can be used to increase amount of nutrition components of crops, and is beneficial to human health. Ex: GE develops crop varieties with increased amounts of essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A and iron in rice. The use of GE for the production and isolation of fructans results in a more efficient plant production system of fructans, and promote their use in human food. Increasing the level of flavonoids (important components of a healthy diet) in tomato or increasing the level of essential amino acids (building block in protein) in potato. (Fructans: polymers of fructose and are naturally produced by 15% of flowering plant species, strengthen the immune system, support a healthy circulatory, shrank cancerous tumors and healed blood diseases caused by the Chernobyl nuclear accident)
There is a lot of argument that GE in foods can harm the environment. However, studies show it can help reduce pollution! Tobacco, bad for human health. However, GE tobacco can clean the TNT in soil! TNT is toxic for humans. However, studies show that bacteria can clean TNT in soil. Researchers inserted a bacterial gene into tobacco plants and the GM plants reduced the toxicity of the TNT soil!
Although there are many concerns that GE foods cause gene pollution, the advantages outweigh the costs. EX: farmers use chemical pesticides on plants. Genetic engineering in crops produces pest resistant plants w/out using pesticides. Moreover, there are many ways to prevent gene pollution. Creating GM male plants which do not produce pollen. Creating GM plants don’t have the introduced gene, therefore if useful insects eat pollen they’ll still survive!
Without GM foods most of us would probably be starving. GM crops are made pest, herbicide, disease, cold, and drought resistant. Eating GM foods could modify your genes as well. FALSE! GM trees are made for phytoremediation. The trees restore metal polluted soils so it may be usable again for growing crops. There are also health benefits in having GM crops: Rice is a staple food source for some but it does not contain many life sustaining nutrients. Some suffer blindness from a vitamin A deficiency. In order to prevent this, a strain of rice as been genetically modified to contain vitamin A. Research is being done to modify potatoes and tomatoes to contain vaccines. Therefore, the question is not whether GM foods are beneficial or not but rather if people arewilling to accept it.
Many people choose organic foods rather than GM foods mainly because of two reasons, ethics and safety. These are viable opinions which are hard to argue even with substantial evidence supporting GM foods. However, many of those who are against GMOs are usually uninformed about the possible benefits. If told that GM foods had the possibility to reduce world hunger (not totally solve) and to promote health in third world countries, would you deny its existence?
PROS CONS Crops are made for consumers Safety for human health so taste and quality are may have potential health enhanced. impacts. Crops are made hardier and can thrive in some harsh Negative impacts of climates. environments microculture. Crops are more nutritional Domination of food market and have more yield. by large corporations. Animals are more Violates the natural order in resistant, reproductive, and yield more which organisms are subject (eggs, milk, meat, etc). to (“pretending to be God”) Environment can be Stressful for animals revitalized (pytoremediation). Environment is less polluted (crops only need pesticide and herbicide once). Population can be well fed.