A genetically modified organism (GMO) is any organism in which the genetic makeup of that organism is modified through genetic engineering techniques (Schneider). This is done by altering genes that the organism already has or by adding or removing genes altogether. There are many examples of GMOs such as glyphosate-resistant crops and pest-resistant crops; the most prevalent are corn and soy products. In fact, many of the foods which we consume today have been genetically altered in one way. GMOs can help increase quality of foods, but many citizens do not believe that GMOs are the technology of the future (Priest, 2000) or that the decrease in environmental condition would be worth the crops (Pereira, 2008). Increasing Quality
Genetically modified crops were first planted for commercial use in 1996 (Parrott, 2010). Ever since, genetically modified crops have been altered to bring the traits in which consumers want, such as size and quality. Genetic engineers can make foods such as strawberries larger and snack foods like chips taste better to consumers just by changing the products genes. GMOs though, are not necessarily the better option when it comes to health. Foods such as Doritos and “Jiffy” Corn Bread are certainly genetically modified and are in no way better for a consumer health wise. Improved quality and size of foods are not enough to convince citizens of using GMOs though.
Many organizations that are not nationally funded tend to believe that the environmental issues that can be made by using these GM crops are not worth the risk. These GM crops can cause harm to other plants in the area even if it is unintended (Pereira, 2008). These crops can also unintentionally cross breed with other plants such as weeds to make genetically altered “super weeds.” These super weeds are not affected by pesticides that are currently on the market and cannot be dealt with easy (Koebler, 2012). These genetically mutated superplants can take priceless time from a farmer, nut this is just one way in which public reaction is negative toward GMOs. Public Opinion
The public opinion of GMOs raises a question about the future of them. Only 52.8% of US citizens believed that GMOs would improve life in the future in a study done about America’s perception of biotechnology; also, 30% of people believe these products will make matters worse. The perceptions citizens have of this biotechnology were mainly attributed to the lack of knowledge of the subject and a citizen’s own morality (Priest, 2000). Also, reactions between the uses of GMOs vary between different countries of the world (Magnusson, 2002). America has been using these products for years, while in Europe they are rarely seen; if these products are seen they have to be labeled “Genetically Modified”. The success of GMOs and other modified food products is all dependent on consumer acceptance (Bredahl, 1999). In the following study, we used polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to assay for evidence of the 35S promoter which drives expression of the glyphosate- resistant gene. This can be identified by running an electrophoresis on an agarose gel. PCR – based methods detect promoters and terminators of newly added genes to products (Forte, 2005). The promoter would confirm that the glyphosate – resistant gene was added to the GMO, thus we consume this altered genetic code all the time.
Materials and Methods
The following food products were used in the study: Nature Path Peanut Buddy™ and Nature Valley™ Peanut Butter bars, Late July Red Hot Mojo and Doritos™ Cool Ranch, Organic Tofu and MonrningStar Spicy Black Bean Burgers, Soy Dream soymilk and Essential Everyday soymilk, and Jiffy™ cornbread and Arrowhead Mills cornbread. Also, Wild-type and Roundup Ready® soybean DNA were used in order to obtain a positive and negative control for the...