Despite the controversy surrounding genetically modified foods they are beneficial both to humans and the environment. Genetically modified plants can repel harmful insects while at the same time producing more fruit. They are better for the environment, are healthier, and are cheaper than organic foods. Nowadays, organic foods simply aren’t efficient enough so they cost more and are more difficult to produce than GM foods. While this creates a new market for people that are against genetically modified foods, for the average person it is impractical. GM foods are the foods of the future and they are here to stay.
GM foods are classified as any species of plant or animal that has had its DNA altered. The alteration usually produces desirable traits found either rarely or not at all in the original species. The DNA can either be modified by either allowing a dormant gene to be expressed or by “splicing” which is a process that allows a DNA segment with desirable traits to be cut from its strand and inserted into the DNA strand of the organism to be genetically modified. Through this process many benefits can be gained.
One benefit is that GM crops take far less time to grow and become fertile. Another is that they can also be adjusted to better withstand the never-ending onslaught of pests such as bugs, as well undesirable weather. This means an increase in production which means that people can get what they want when they want it, a very good thing in today’s fast paced world where many people are accustomed to instant gratification. Also, GM foods are arguably better tasting than some of their natural counterparts and also have a much higher chance of being an overall better product. Despite all these things there are still people with arguments against GM foods. However, it cannot be denied that genetically modified foods are a worldwide trend and carry with them many benefits.
Some arguments against GM foods are the potential for allergic reactions, the effect that GM foods can have on their environment, and lastly the ethics surrounding the science. Of these surely all the scientific arguments can surely be solved. One of the arguments in question is the fact that GM foods carry some risk of causing allergic reaction. The reason for this is that there is a very slim chance that the DNA segment that is cut during the splicing process contains code that produces proteins that people can be allergic to. So basically if someone who was allergic to peanuts ate a piece of bread that was made from GM wheat that that shared DNA with a peanut that person might have an allergic reaction (if he was extremely unlucky).
This problem can be solved by manufacturers listing possible allergens in their products on the can or box the product comes in. If the product in question happens to be some sort of produce or other product that does not come in a box, can, or other container that can be labeled other arrangements can surely be made. A second argument regarding GM foods is their impact on the environment. Genetically modified foods do have an impact on the environment but it is not decidedly negative. While genetically modified foods may negatively affect some parts of the ecosystem this is not known for sure. One thing that is for sure is that many forms of GM crops are poisonous to certain pests that would otherwise wreak their havoc not only in other crops but in nature too.
One of the last and most tricky arguments against GM foods is the question of morals. Is God really okay with us tampering with his creations? Well regardless of the answer to this question we have been doing exactly this for thousands of years. Originally corn when mature grew to be only about 3-4 inches in length. We have been using selective breeding to obtain desirable traits in both crops and livestock since ancient times by modifying DNA directly we are just speeding up this process. In the beginning, God said that all the plants and creatures of the earth were ours, and now we are just finally beginning to scratch the surface of what that truly means.
Though many people have expressed their dislike of GM foods it cannot be denied that all around the world these foods are making a difference. Farmers no longer need to use pesticides on their crops because they have been genetically altered to be resistant to a number of pests. Farmers also no longer need to worry about the effects of cold or freezing weather on some of their crops. Frost can destroy seedlings which can in turn ruin entire harvests. However, with the insertion of an antifreeze gene found in many species of cold water fish these plants are able to tolerate these harsh conditions.
Furthermore, since plants can also be modified to be both hardier and more fertile more crops can be produced using a significantly lower number of seeds. Another helpful modification found commonly in GM crops allows them to be resistant to Glyphosate more popularly known by its commercial name: Roundup. Glyphosate is an herbicide that kills all plant life with the exception of the GM foods that have been tailored to resist it. This resistance means that farmers only have to use one herbicide to wipe out any and all undesired plant life instead of using many that target only certain threats. But, genetically modified foods are not only helping farmers and the average person they are helping people out all around the world.
One of the most notable accomplishments of genetically modified foods has been the creation of “Golden Rice”. This rice is a variation of Oryza sativa rice and has helped to address the issue of malnutrition in third world countries by boosting levels of both Vitamin A and iron. In Oryza sativa rice the edible part of the rice contains no Vitamin A or iron. However, Golden Rice addresses this problem by biosynthesizing iron and beta-Carotene, a red-orange pigment commonly found in plants and fruit. It is a form of Vitamin A and is what gives carrots and sweet potatoes their orange hue. The impact of this rice on third world countries has been astounding and has prevented the deaths of thousands or possibly even millions of children who could have died from malnourishment. With genetically modified foods the possibilities are seemingly endless and the potential to do good is astounding as the dream of a world without hunger or disease suddenly becomes more and more a reality.
Modifying rice to produce Vitamin A and iron is just the beginning. In the near future it will be possible to administer vaccines and other medications through GM foods as well as essential nutrients. These edible vaccinations hold the potential to wipe out malaria and other deadly diseases so commonly found throughout our world. Future GM foods could also make possible the elimination of naturally occurring allergens and non-nutritional compounds. This would mean that all foods would be healthier and that none of them would cause allergic reactions. Some future applications of genetically modified crops go beyond the kitchen with
GM crops making the production of biodegradable plastics, diesel fuel, and more durable cotton and linen products a possibility. Also in the near future game fish may be genetically modified to grow faster thus helping repopulate the sea with different species of overfished fish. All these benefits and more are not so far out of our reach. GM foods have the potential to change the world for the better, to make it a healthier place to live. And once we reach this future who knows where we will be able to go from there.
Genetically modified foods are an asset to the people of the world. GM crops dramatically increase production. They also ensure that no blight, whether it be drought or frost, should be detrimental to a harvest. This technology has already begun to save lives by fighting malnutrition and has the great potential in the medical field. Soon we will be able to send vaccinations and other medicines via seeds that will grow to produce fruit with the medication in them. These foods have the potential to make us healthier and thus lengthen our lives. And while controversy will for a long time surround genetically modified foods, we have been using them since 1994. The precursor to genetic modification, selective breeding, began thousands of years before this date and is the reason for many of the common species of plants and animals today.
Genetic modification is merely another scientific advance such as many others that will, as they did, change the world. Genetically modified foods are just one aspect of this advance but they are a big part of it because of the huge impact that have on both everyday life and the lives of others. GM foods are the foods of both today and of the future. Despite some opposition to this fact it cannot be denied that these foods have benefits both in the long and short term. In short, GM foods are extremely beneficial and are here to stay.
Genetically modified foods are a good thing. They have many benefits and GM crops themselves can have other applications besides food. The potential of genetic modification is just barley being tapped. So many things are possible now that the building blocks of life are able to be shifted, changed, and replaced. What is being done now will be remembered as the start of a global phenomenon that will have forever changed the world for the better. Genetically modified foods will make a future without hunger, disease, and malnourishment a real possibility. The technology itself will go even further than this because genetically modifying plants and animals for food is only one small part of the overall picture.
The use and production of medicine, fuel, plastics, metals, and countless other things will be forever changed by this technology. The benefits of GM foods are seemingly endless. They will continue grow in popularity and in the near will be even more common than they are now. These foods will be continually improved so that from the time they are planted to the time they are eaten they are as wholesome as they can be. These are some of the reasons why genetically modified foods are so beneficial and they will go on to change the world for the better.