Genetically Modified Foods

Topics: Genetically modified food, Genetic engineering, Genetically modified organism Pages: 3 (1017 words) Published: January 6, 2013
For thousands of years farmers have used a process of selection and cross breeding to improve the quality of our crops. The problem with GM crops is that there is little known about what effect they will have in 20 years’ time. The genetic structure of any living organism is complex and GM crop tests focus on short-term effects. Not all the effects of introducing a foreign gene into the intricate genetic structure of an organism are tested. Will the pests that a crop was created to resist eventually become resistant to this crop? GM crops may also pose a health risk to native animals that eat them. The animals may be poisoned by the built-in pesticides. Tests in the U.S. showed that 44% of caterpillars of the monarch butterfly died when fed large amounts of pollen from GM corn. Very little scientific information exists about the risk of GM food on human health. One major report by Dr. Arpad Pusztai, explains how GM foods could trigger new allergies and contain toxins that may be harmful. Another concern is disease. Since some crops are modified using the DNA from viruses and bacteria, will we see new diseases emerge? What about the GM crops that have antibiotic-resistant marker genes? Marker genes are used by scientists to determine whether their genetic modification of a plant was successful. Will these antibiotic-resistant genes be transferred to microorganisms that cause disease? We already have a problem with ineffective antibiotics. How can we develop new drugs to fight these new bugs? Then there is always the possibility that we may not be able to destroy GM crops once they spread into the environment. Proponents of GM crops claim that advantages may be many, such as: Improved storage and nutritional quality

Pest and disease resistance

Selective herbicide tolerance

Tolerance of water, temperature and saline extremes

Improved animal welfare

Higher yields and quality

Cross-pollination is a concern for both GM crops and conventional breeding,...
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