Genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) use vitro nucleic acid techniques to produce animals, plants, or microorganisms that are genetically modified. A good example of this technique is recombinant Deoxyribonucleic Acid (rDNA). Genes are transferred from one organism to another. They can also be combined within an organism. The products of this process can rise above physical reproductive challenges. For example, genetically modified foods can be able to resist pests (ADA, 2006).
GMO’s are living organisms. They contain genes. GMOs are a result of biotechnology that utilizes living organisms to create new products. In agriculture, the genes of a plant are moved to create others. These plants are classified as improved or altered qualities (Brake and Evenson, 2004).
Biotechnology is used to produce foods. These foods are classified as those that have living organisms a good example being GM Corn, GM soybeans, and GM potatoes. There are those foods that have ingredients gotten from GMOs. For example Cornmeal. It contains genetically modified Soybeans protein. Another category of these foods is those containing additives manufactured as a result of genetic modification. These include vitamins and colors. Lastly, there are those foods that utilize genetically modified enzymes during their modification. Such food is high-fructose corn syrup. The enzyme used in its production is glucose isomerase. Other foods under this category are Yogurt and cheese.
Effects of GMO’s
Genetically modified crops have greatly influenced human nutrition. These crops can reduce the nutrient shortage. They enhance food value in terms of nutrients as well as lowering natural pollutants and allergens. In some rare cases, genetically modified food may also put human health at risk. This is especially when products have not undergone safety assessments.
Genetically modified foods are safe to be consumed by some groups of people. Pregnant women can safely eat GM foods. Experts argue that GM foods give low toxic substances hence do not affect the fetus. It is also safer for the mother in terms of birth defects (Europeans Food Safety Authority, 2006).
On the other hand, GM foods are said to have negative impacts on children than on adults. Unknown toxic and allergies affect fast-growing bodies than adults. This is because they are sensitive to these allergens. For example, the infant’s gut allows macromolecular transport. This alters the immune system of the infant. In addition, GM foods may interfere with hormones hence affecting the growth and development of a child. Children consume high amounts of milk and in most cases, the milk is produced by genetically modified cows. Children are also exposed to risks of antibiotic-resistant diseases.
Teenagers are adversely affected by GM foods. The foods are said to stimulate their hormones beyond normal expectations. This leads to altered body reactions which at times cause negative or unexpected behavior changes. The effects of these foods on teenagers are usually not as a result of the consumption at the teenage but at the tender ages. The effects of these foods are common and severe in babies. Some of the effects of these foods consumed at a tender age reflect in teenagers. The teenage being a hormonally controlled stage in life gets affected most by these foods the more. For instance, some of these foods are linked to increased body abnormalities such as being overweight. In addition, the foods have been linked to increased depression and suicidal cases in teens due to the increased hormonal alterations.
Genetically modified foods have addressed the biggest challenges facing all countries in the 21st century. It has ensured food security by increasing crop productivity. However, they also pose some health risks. Depending on the group the effects may be negative or positive. Safety assessment on GM foods should therefore consider all age groups to ensure that there is no group that is negatively affected.
ADA. (2006). Agricultural and food biotechnology. American Dietetic Association, 106(2): 285-293.
Brake, D. & Evenson, D. (2004). A generational study of glyphosate-tolerant soybeans on mouse fetal, postnatal, pubertal and adult testicular development. Food Chem. Tox, 42: 29-36.
Europeans Food Safety Authority. (2006). Guidance document of the scientific panel on genetically modified organisms for the risk assessment of genetically modified plants and derived food and feed. EFSA Journal, 99: 1-100.