Genetically Modified Food (Gmo)

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Genetically Modified Food (GMO)


This research paper was based on the documentary Food Inc and other articles. Specifically this paper explains GMO in detail and how it affected my eating habits. The research also expores what is being done to stop it or prevent it. Addtionally, discussion about the law suits and risk of cancer due to GMO is presented.

Genetically Modified Food

The term GM foods or GMOs (genetically-modified organisms) is most commonly used to refer to crop plants created for human or animal consumption using the latest molecular biology techniques. These plants have been modified in the laboratory to enhance desired traits such as increased resistance to herbicides or improved nutritional content(Hilbeck,pp. 1255-63). The enhancement of desired traits has traditionally been undertaken through breeding, but conventional plant breeding methods can be very time consuming and are often not very accurate. Genetic engineering, on the other hand, can create plants with the exact desired trait very rapidly and with great accuracy. For example, plant geneticists can isolate a gene responsible for drought tolerance and insert that gene into a different plant. The new genetically-modified plant will gain drought tolerance as well. Not only can genes be transferred from one plant to another, but genes from non-plant organisms also can be used. The best known example of this is the use of B.t. genes in corn and other crops. B.t., or Bacillus thuringiensis, is a naturally occurring bacterium that produces crystal proteins that are lethal to insect larvae. B.t. crystal protein genes have been transferred into corn, enabling the corn to produce its own pesticides against insects such as the European corn borer.

Scientists have been and are currently introducing genetic material into organisms to alter, create and affect changes in living plants and animals. These radical changes scientists are developing create specific, desirable traits that might never evolve naturally and in my opinion are extremely dangerous(Letourneau, p. 438 ).

Collectively called recombinant DNA technology, this practice changes the core genetic make-up of organisms. This genetic manipulation gives scientists the ability to create any trait that they wish, or suppress natural traits they don't want. There are several reasons this unnatural genetic manipulation may affect you.

Although "biotechnology" and "genetic modification" commonly are used interchangeably, GM is a special set of technologies that alter the genetic makeup of organisms such as animals, plants, or bacteria. Biotechnology, a more general term, refers to using organisms or their components, such as enzymes, to make products that include wine, cheese, beer, and yogurt(Fuchs & Gonsalves, p. 421).

Combining genes from different organisms is known as recombinant DNA technology, and the resulting organism is said to be "genetically modified," "genetically engineered," or "transgenic." GM products (current or those in development) include medicines and vaccines, foods and food ingredients, feeds, and fibers.

Locating genes for important traits—such as those conferring insect resistance or desired nutrients—is one of the most limiting steps in the process. However, genome sequencing and discovery programs for hundreds of organisms are generating detailed maps along with data-analyzing ...
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