Genetic Engineering: Genetically Modified Foods

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Purpose of genetic recombination

Genetic modification is a technological process that involves altering of the genetic structure of organisms like animals and plants. The change in allele’s combination expresses itself in the offspring of the organisms that underwent genetic modification. For the past few years, organisms such as plants and animals have been modified via selective breeding. Besides the use of selective breeding, the use of genetic engineering has also been found to contribute significantly to the exchange of genetic material. Many studies agree that genetic engineering paves way for transmission of genetic materials between different organisms (Federal, 1992).

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The threat of diseases such as tomato blight and rot diseases lead to the introduction of genetically modified plants. Genetic modification of plants also aid greatly in the production of herbicide tolerant plants that result to the reduction of the rate of food crop deaths. Demand for some vitamins make some of the agricultural organizations embark in the production of GM staple group of foods containing some vitamins not initially located in the plant. GM foods are also produced intensely in various countries in the earth in order to curb food insecurity. GM crops have also high rate of growth and development, they also portray high rate of productivity.

Effects of genetically modified foods

Many people in the world have consumed foods produced genetically without showing any negative effect. Nevertheless, different studies carried out show that GM greatly affects health status of individuals who have consumed GM foods. The difficulty portrayed in the detection of the effects of GM on the consumers contributes to the misunderstanding of the effects of the GM (Krimsky, 1992). The effects of GM crops in the health of an individual take long to be noticed.

GM foods cause long term effects on the consumers due to lack of appropriate measures for observance of their effects. Overproduction of the GM food crops have also contributed to high production of allergens and toxins in the food crops. Excess toxins and allergens in food crops affect the health of the consumers negatively. Genetic recombination also results to production of unintended organisms; this poses great challenge to the environment. The creation of GM crops may also lead to the production of antibiotic resistant crops. The resistance of antibiotics by plants greatly affects productivity negatively leading to rise of famine cases.

Genetic foods in supermarkets

Foods marketed in the supermarkets range from extremely healthy to extremely poisonous genetically modified foods. Fruits are examples of genetically modified foods found in the supermarkets. Scientists combine diverse compatible genes in order to produce fruits that are nutritious and beneficial to consumer’s health. Scientists also use some enzymes in softening fruits such as tomatoes. For instance, Polygalacturonase enzyme digests the cell wall of the tomato. Besides softening fruits, polygalacturonase enzyme inhibits protein formation. It also leads to human beings consuming fruits that have not undergone fully maturation (Sugarman, 1992).

Regulations for GM foods

The formation of regulation acts aid tremendously in lowering the rate of GM production. As a matter of fact, the acts play significant role in observing nutritional safety of the produced food crops. The acts also provide guidelines on the appropriate usage of toxicants in the production and supply of foods. Many countries such as Canada advocates for occasional assessments of the foods produced via genetic modification, this assists greatly in identifying the foods that might be hazardous to the health of the consumer. Foods that are genetically modified are also labeled in order to inform the consumers on what they are buying from markets.

References

Federal R. (1992). Statement of Policy: Foods Derived from New Plant Varieties; Notice. Part IX, Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration, 57(104). p. 22984-23005.

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Krimsky, S. (1992). Tomatoes May Be Dangerous to Your Health. The New York Times, Op-Ed page.

Sugarman, C. (1992). Splice and Dice – Genetic Engineers on the Cutting Edge. The Washington Post. E1, E4.

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