G.M.O why they are bad
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)
Meeting the basic needs of every person is the desire for every nation. Looking into food aspects, millions of people go hungry every day. The advent of technology and the unfolding of food technology over the years especially genetically modified plants (GMOs) was thought as a genesis that would address the food basket (Estabrook, 1). However, in the recent years GMOs have gotten intensive media attention. Notwithstanding, the general public lack concrete knowledge about what genetically modified technology/ organisms may or may not bring in favor for the health of people, environment, and the nation at large. As this debate of whether to adapt or not adapt the GM technology, the GMOs continue being introduced in Europe, USA, and other developing countries. This has raised eyebrows on the potential health issues that the GMOs adaptation may pose to the nation (Prakash et al., 2011). This collection will explore the reasons why the GMOs are bad and whether the government should ban GMOs or not and give reasons.
Transgenic plants (GM plants) refer to plants whose recombinant DNA technology was employed to come up with such species. The technology involves using a foreign gene to modify original genes. The gene code will present a specific characteristic or trait to that plant. There are various ways in which the technology can be used. For instance, to engineer resistance to biotic stresses such as pathogens and insects that prove to be destructive to survival or growth of the plant; or abiotic stresses like extreme salinity or temperature. More so, the GM technology is used to improve the plant’s nutritional content, an application that the developing world is likely to find it useful. Development of new-generation GM plants is taking a course for the industrial products and recombinant medicines production; for example biofuels, plastics, vaccines and monoclonal antibodies. For plants, main crops grown are maize and soybean (Key, Ma, & Drake 292).
How to modify a plant using GM
There exist several techniques that are used in GM plants production. The most common include the ‘gene gun’. This technique shoots the DNA-coated to microscopic particles into the target plant cell. The second technique is bacterium Agrobacterium tumefaciens. This technique can transfer the DNA to the target plants naturally. In general, this techniques target cells of specific plants and subsequently the whole GM plant is regenerated using tissue culture techniques. It is from through the processes in which this technique is applied that there is a heating debate about how the GM plant is safe to human health.
i. The identification of transformed cells using selectable markers.
ii. Transfer of genes into the genome of the plant other than those the research recommends (extraneous DNA).
iii. The probability of mutations increasing in plants realized through GM in comparison non-GM plants following culture processes of tissue used in the DNA rearrangement and production around the site of insertion of foreign genes. (Key, Ma & Drake, 293).
Are GMOs then safe?
Genetic engineering microorganisms have been used for various environmental applications; such as plant disease biocontrol, plant growth promoter, nitrogen fixation, biopesticides and bioremediation. Recombinant DNA (r-DNA) techniques support the use of genetically improved microorganisms as seed and soil inoculants. R-DNA impacts on the ecology are more pronounced compared to the wild types. First, the DNA modification is not likely to remain limited to the target characteristic of the gene it replaces. Hence, GMOs use calls for increased vigilance in carrying out risk assessment about environmental risks likely to result from their use. Such risks include (Prakash et al., 2011):
• A single gene may control numerous characteristics in a single plant or organism resulting into unintended side effects. These side effects might not have been realized from the start or may go unnoticed. Such a risk is hard to predict.
• Interbreeding/ genetic contamination: Sexually compatible relatives of the wild type and introduced GMOs may interbreed. This may lead to the disappearance of the novel trait in the wild types. Also, the wild type may build tolerance abilities, subsequently altering the indigenous species behavior and ecological relationship.
• GMOs and natural species competition: GMOs traits designed to ensure faster growth will compete over with the wild type. This will lead to the GMOs probably to spread into new areas, become invasive and cause economic and ecological damage.
• Target increased selection pressure as well as the non-target organism. This may means non-target species may be forced to adapt to the changes introduced by target species as it is with the pressure of natural selection or geological change creating another evolution process of a distinct resistant population.
• Ecosystem impacts: A single species changes affect may go beyond the target to the ecosystem. A single impact comes hand I hand with damage and destruction risks of the ecosystem.
• Impossibility of follow-up
If problems arise following the introduction of GMOs into the environment, it is impossible to carry out follow-up and eliminate them. This means that GMOs adaptation calls for increased scrutiny.
• Horizontal gene transfer (HGT)
HGT in GMOs is one of increased concern for their adaptation. HGT refers to foreign genes acquisition by organisms through conjugation, transduction, and transformation in various environmental situations. Introduced gene in GMOs may undergo HGT, may present an original characteristic in another organism, posing a risk to both the environment and people. For instance, antibiotic resistance genes transfer to a pathogen is likely to compromise animal and human therapy. HGT from GMO has pronounced potential impacts (Prakash et al., 2011).
i. The environment and people adverse health effects that include enhanced pathogenicity.
ii. Unintended and unpredictable effects.
iii. Losing of Management control measures.
iv. Long-term unpredictable effects.
In the human population; according to Canadian researchers in Journal Reproductive Toxicology in 2011 to establish whether there is any toxicity linked with GMOs use, in the study of Quebec women residence they found that, 69 had glyphosate traces in the blood. The fetuses of those who were expecting were also found to host this compound. Glyphosate is used widely globally to kill weeds and is use in combination with GM crops. From their speculation, they pointed that most likely the compound was passed to the women from the livestock meat as the animal are fed GM crops. However, extensive researches need to be carried out to ascertain the impacts of this highly toxic compound more so to the fetus (Estabrook, 1).
Allergic cases could have risen if brazil-nuts grown from inserted genes of soybeans were made to the market. In another study conducted in 2012 and available in Food and Chemical Toxicology did reveal that corn modified to ensure resistance to Roundup was fed to rats. Compared to those fed with non-GMO corn the rats suffered tumors and many of them died earlier (Estabrook, 1).
Should the government ban GMOs?
The main objective of agriculture and technology is to ensure there is a continuity sustainable food product to meet the needs of the growing population in a sustainable manner. Currently, about 99% of food agricultural food producers employ one or more GMO practices. GMO practices have broadened the technological and scientific research giving a nice milestone to the science research disciplines (Komen & Wafula, 1). Also, faster growth and early maturity of plants and animals have increased food supply to the deserving population as well as financially benefiting the producers (Estabrook, 1; Komen & Wafula, 1). However, in my opinion government should ban GMOs use.
The burden of diseases such as cancers is today sipping lots of money from people pockets, the national and the world at large. Increased toxicity, and build up of antibiotics resistance population, to diseases that could be cured with weak antibiotics in the early and mid 19th century, poses another threat to disease control and prevention among the human population. Besides, this continues to increase financial burden to medical research and pharmaceutical industries (Buiatti, Christou & Pastore, 255-270). Of keen interests is that the GMOs plants can transfer traits to the wild type plants forcing the world to lose traditional genes and subsequently causing ecological and geographical plants adaptation viability changes (Prakash et al., 2011).
Of significance is that though there have been many types of research on GMOs on rats and other non-human organisms, bearing in mind the controversy in place their applications in human remains hypothetical and unreal. More so, the fact that it is challenging to carry out a study of GMOs on human as Estabrook notes; it is hard and almost impossible to track a case exposed to GMOs compared to that is not exposed to with human population.
The affirmation of Food and Drug Administration approved GMOs release to the market place with no further research of how harmful the products can be to human population remains unsound. This is because FDA examined the superficial fact that GMO did hold almost the same amount of carbohydrates, proteins and fats nutrients as non-GMOs (Estabrook 1). Although, the WHO proposes the use of GMOs, the current controversy over their use in human is of much significant to ensure a healthy population now and in the future (Entine, 1). More so the polices, standards and regulation to ensure the population is made aware of which products are GM and strict labeling have not yield fruits. The risks and risks burden outweigh the proposed benefits among the natural environment, animals and human beings (Juntti 1). Therefore, until such issues are addressed, GMOs use should be banned among the human population.
Buiatti, M., Christou P. & Pastore G. “The GMOs application in agriculture and in food production for a better nutrition: two different scientific points of view”. Genes Nutrition Journal, 8.3. (2013): 255-270.
Entine J. “Why liberal Americans are turning against GMO labeling”. Forbes Science and Technology (2014). Web. 12/3/2015.
Estabrook B. GMOs: Are They Safe? What are The Pros and Cons? Eating well.com, 1(2015). web, 12/3/2015, http://www.eatingwell.com/food_news_origins/organic_natural/gmos_are_they_safe_pros_cons.
Juntti M. “Are GMOs safe? What we know”. Men’s Journal, 1 (2015). Print
Key, S., Ma, J.K. & Drake P, M.W. “Genetically modified plants and human health”. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 101.6. (2008). pp 290-298. Print.
Komen J. & Wafula D. “Trade and tribulations: An evaluation of trade barriers to the adoption of genetically modified crops in the east African community”. A Report of the CSIS Global Food Security Project, (2013): pp 1-24. Print.
Prakash D. et al., Risks and precaustions of genetically modified organisms. ISRN Ecology, (2011). Print.