It’s your first day on the job: you recently got hired at your local taco shell company. You have been trained at the mixing station where they take oil from Soybeans, vegetable oil, corn flour, traces of salt & lime, and mix it. You somehow come across the fact that the soybeans that are being used have been genetically modified. This is where you ask yourself: should I tell someone about this?
GMO stands for genetically modified organisms, and they’ve been around longer than you think. Basically, they alter a part of the DNA structure, either literally modifying the chromosome or adding some. The chromosome is the component of the cell that contains the genetic information: instructions for inherited characteristics. For example, a tomato’s chromosome contains information regarding it’s color: red. Therefore every tomato that will be grown from it will inherit this characteristic: red.
These genes however can end up in unanticipated places, they can “escape”. Which is what happened in the case of the papaya trees in Hawaii.
In 1998, the University of Hawaii developed and released transgenic papaya trees, in other words GMO papayas, that were resistant to the ringspot virus. The ringspot virus is simply one of the most common and destructive virus disease of papayas. There after, these trees began contaminating other papaya seeds. Contamination is caused by wind, insects, plants, animals, and other means of transmitting the defect -- for example tourists were spitting out the genetically modified papaya seeds that they bought at the local grocery store and were spitting out the seeds across the city. Therefore normal seeds and modified seeds were being mixed. By 2004 ,almost 50% of papayas tested on the Big Island were contaminated. The reason for the “need” of these genetically modified seeds was said to be because the papaya economy was plummeting and it was there way to save it. However, the GMO papaya performed poorly in the market. Not...
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