Topics: Genetically modified organism, Genetically modified food, Monsanto Pages: 3 (961 words) Published: March 1, 2013
What is a GMO? GMO stands for genetically modified organism. It can be argued that genetically modified organisms have been around as long as humans were using agriculture as a food source. By definition, an organism that has been changed genetically by any source that does not occur naturally is a GMO. Any farmer could cross two plants to create a more beneficial crop. Since their creation, GMOs have been used for scientific research and midicinal purposes. In 1953, the discovery of how DNA works made altering genes possible. Without this discovery, altering genes would be left to mostly trial and error. In 1973, the process of genetic engineering was invented by Herbert Boyer and Stanley Cohen. In 1982, GMOs were approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in pharmaceuticals. Before they could be introduced to consumers, GMOs underwent testing to find out if the resulting crops were safe for consumption. It wasn’t until the 90s that the USDA approved their first crop for commercial use, a tomato that was altered to stay firm longer. Today, agriculture is being genetically modified to increase the yield of crops, reduce costs, to enhance nutrients, and to increase resistance to insects and disease. Plants are able to mature faster, protect themselves against drought, frost, and other environmental hazards, which enables them to grow in climates which other wise would not be possible without being genetically modified. Many industries can look forward to the potential use of GMOs. Currently, a number of microorganisms are being considered as a clean fuel source. Genetically modified plants can someday be used as vaccines. The concept of a fruit or vegetable as a vaccine taken orally is being considered. This would lower vaccination costs and help underdeveloped countries. While there are many opportunities to use genetically modified organisms to benefit us, there is a debate about whether or not they are safe for human consumption, or even the...
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