1. is a genetically modified organism? How has recombinant DNA technology pushed the boundaries in terms of what can be done? 2. Why are GMOs becoming more and more necessary?

1. is a genetically modified organism? How has recombinant DNA technology pushed the boundaries in terms of what can be done? 2. Why are GMOs becoming more and more necessary? 3. How have GMOs already provided benefits to the human race? 4. is your stance on genetic modification? Is it okay for some purposes but not others? Transcribed Image Text: Genetically modified crops are a topic of intense debate that have sparked a lot of
controversy over the years, fueled largely through a lack of understanding and
vast amounts of misinformation. Do we need GM crops? Are they dangerous?
This article is going to give a brief overview of this huge topic and also discuss
some of the myths and facts of GMOS.
Are GMOS?
Humans have been modifying the genomes (set of genetic instructions) of plants
and animals for our benefit for thousands of years using a process known
as artificial selection, or selective breeding. This involves selecting organisms with
desirable traits and breeding them so that certain characteristics are perpetuated
(made to continue). This could be a teacup dog, a cow with improved milk
production or a fruit without seeds. However, this is limited to naturally occurring
variations, which is where genetic engineering has found a place.
Genetic engineering allows us to introduce genes into an organism from a
totally unrelated species which is commonly carried out on crops, agricultural animals and bacteria. These
genetically modified organisms (GMOS) are designed for many reasons, including: pesticide and disease
resistance, drought/frost resistance, increased yields, enhanced nutritional content and as a way to produce
drugs or vaccines at low cost on a large scale.
When most people consider GMOS they think of agriculture, but the medical implications are wide ranging. For
example, genetically engineered bacteria now produce insulin, saving the lives of millions of type 1 diabetics.
Genetic engineering, which involves creating recombinant (joined together) DNA, involves splicing together
genes through the use of enzymes, which all a chosen species to acquire the benefits that a particular gene
could afford a crop or medicine.
Why Do We Need GMOS?
While it is true that a major problem with feeding an over burgeoning (increasing rapidly) global population
relates to the distribution of the food that we do produce, if population growth does not slow down then we
are going to need to find new ways to meet food demands. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN
has estimated that we will need to grow 70% more food by 2050.
There are several ways that this could be achieved. We could destroy valuable rainforests to make way for
agricultural land, but I don’t need to go into the reasons why we should not do this. We could stop eating as
much meat, given that the crop calories we feed to animals could meet the calorie needs of 4 billion people,
but few are willing to do this and meat consumption has quadrupled in the last 50 years. We could invest more
in hydroponics (growing crops efficiently indoors, without soil), which is what many countries are looking into.
Or we could create GM crops. Transcribed Image Text: Many things threaten food security, such as crop or animal diseases, pests and climate change. Weather is
becoming more unpredictable and extreme weather is becoming commonplace, which is taking its toll on
farmers worldwide. The idea behind many GMOS is to address these problems. The creation of GM crops
allows humans to stay “ahead of the curve” when it comes to mother nature, while enabling a sophisticated
collection of crops to possess traits conducive (make certain) to successful production.
Examples of GM Crops
An excellent example is golden rice. Around 250 million children are
vitamin A-deficient in the world, which kills and blinds millions each
year. While supplement distribution programs exist, they’re
expensive and difficult to sustain. The solution? Golden rice.
Researchers added two genes to white rice, one from a soil
bacterium and another from the daffodil, which synthesize a
precursor of vitamin A called beta-carotene. This pigment makes
various foods orange and hence makes the rice appear golden. The
daffodil gene was later swapped for a corn gene to further increase
the amount of beta-carotene produced.
White rice is a staple food in many countries but it’s not usually a source of vitamin A. One bowl of golden rice
meets 60% of a child’s daily vitamin A needs. However, this product has been met with significant opposition,
especially from Greenpeace (a well-known environmental group), mainly because many people believe it will
lead to widespread acceptance of GMO. The fact remains: it’s a viable (capable of working) solution to a real
world problem. It was also developed by foundation-funded academic researchers and a nonprofit
organization, not a big private corporation.
You may also be surprised to find out that around 85% of corn grown in the U.S. is genetically modified. Soy is
also heavily genetically modified; one particular soybean was engineered to produce high levels of oleic acid|
because it is thought that this may lower LDL cholesterol, or “bad cholesterol.”
Start of Section 2
Controversies Surrounding GMOS
There are many controversies surrounding this topic. Some are complete myths, while others raise valid issues.
Labeling
It is estimated that as much as 90% of commodity crops (those that are bought and sold) used in the U.S.s
food supply are genetically modified. Few people are aware of the extent of GMOS because the food industry
does not label them through fear of sparking safety concerns in customers. Some have suggested that labeling
would be like putting a skull and crossbones on packaging; however, people argue that they should be able to
know what they are eating so that they can make an informed choice.
Mandatory label laws have come into place in certain countries, but they have not resulted in the anticipated
reaction. Instead, they have led to an increased pressure for retailers to stop stocking GM products which has
reduced consumer choice and at times raised prices. It should be stressed that despite decades of testing,
there is no evidence that genetically modified foods are intrinsically more dangerous or worse for you than
unmodified food. Transparency is a hallmark of good science, but when the public does not fully understand
the topic it can fuel fear. Mandatory labeling is therefore a complex issue with valid points from both sides.
“GMO” is a fairly meaningless term when applied alone. Genetic modification is just a technique; it is not
Inherently dangerous. As with all techniques, it’s how it’s used that matters.

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