We all know that nutrition is important for us. It gives our bodies the nutrients we need to stay healthy, grow, and work properly. But when the nutritious traditional foods (i.e. oranges, fish, rice, meat, etc.) that have been grown and eaten for centuries becomes this scientific research project (genetically modified), we are now left wondering if these foods are safe to eat. Can they lead to other serious issues?
Way before scientists had learned to modify our foods, the human race has methodically improved crop plants through selective breeding for many thousands of years. Genetic engineering allows that time-consuming process to be accelerated and exotic traits from unrelated species to be introduced. In the United States, this type of agricultural industry began emerging in the early 1980s (Pickrell, 2006).
We find the crops like corn, soybeans, and wheat mixed in our food sitting on the shelves in the super markets. We now find it swimming in the oceans that commercial “farmers” sell to local supermarkets that sell it to locals to eat. We find it growing on farm lands, in which test fields release sites with genetically engineered rapeseeds, sugar beet, wheat, potatoes, strawberries, and much more. There has been no warning or no consultation with the local communities. Many of us eat them everyday, whether we know it or not.
In the 1990s, genetically modified foods began to show up in markets and grocery stores. From breakfast cereals to soft drinks, hamburgers to soymilk, GMOs have recently worked their way into 60 to 70 percent of our food supply according to the Center for Food Safety. One cannot help but think about what specific chemicals are put into the plants and animals we eat and what are the risks and benefits of GM foods. Considering the connections between the GM foods, the environment, and the people, one cannot fail to wonder what the impact this relationship has on the recent spike of puberty starting at a younger age, the increase of allergies, and the infestation of nonorganic crops on farmlands.
Genetic modification is any process by which genetic material, the building blocks of heredity, is changed in such a way as to make possible the production of new substances or new functions. It is variously known as genetic engineering, genetic modification, or genetic manipulation. These three terms all mean the same thing, the reshuffling of genes usually from one species to another; existing examples include: from one fish to a tomato or from a human to a pig. Genetic engineering comes under the board heading of biotechnology (Dr. Steinbrecher, 1999).
The root of genetic engineering in crops lies in the 1977 discovery that soil bug, Agrobacterium Tumefaciens (a tumor-inducing bacteria), can be used as a tool to inject potentially useful foreign genes into plants. With the help of that microbe and other gene-implantation technologies such as gene guns, geneticists have developed a multitude of new crop types. Most of these are modified to be pest, disease, or herbicide resistant. Of the most common inserted, the bacterial gene Bt is the most commonly inserted. It produces an insecticidal toxin that is harmless to people (Pickrell, 2006)
Biotechnology has ignited heated debates over the surrounding products used in engineering plants and its uncertainty of long-term health and environmental effects on the people. The transfer of genes from genetically modified to wild plants could create the loss of biodiversity, lack of consumer choice, and amongst these issues is the possibility of health problems in humans, like for example the discovery of puberty and the age when begin kids reach it.
More and more doctors have noticed that the average ages of children who have already started puberty are starting to get younger and younger (Moller, 1987). A new study in the medical journal Pediatrics found that girls are more likely today, than they were 10 to 30 years ago, are to start...
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