GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOODS
What are genetically modified foods?
Genetically modified foods are foods derived from organisms whose genetic material has been modified in a way that does not occur naturally, for example through the introduction of a gene from a different organism. In the future, genetic modification could be aimed at altering the nutrient content of food, reducing its allergenic potential, or improving the efficiency of food production systems.
Technology now allows us to transfer genes between organisms. For example, the tomato plant's beetle resistance relies on a gene from a bacterium, which scientists inserted into the tomato plant's genome. This gene, called cry1Ac, encodes a protein that is poisonous to certain types of insects, including the beetle.
v Genetically modified ingredients can cause cancer.
A consultant histopathologest at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Dr Stanley Ewen, raised the concern that food and water contaminated with genetically engineered material could increase the growth of malignant tumours upon contact with humans. Later, other studies suggested a link between engineered food and cancer.
v Under-Developed countries becoming more dependent on other communities.
This was raised when developing the golden rice, genetically modified rice that contains larger amounts of vitamin A, which can be beneficial to poor people in developing countries. However, it is usually the large companies of the developed world that can produce such crop engineering which will increase the dependency of poor counties on the Wild, Wild West!
v Adverse effects on the immune system.
A study in 2008 showed that feeding mice engineered food for 30 days caused an immune reaction and altered the number of cells that regulated the immune functions in the body.
v Better overall quality and taste
Through the modification of foods, the flavors can be enhanced, peppers and corn can become spicier or sweeter and also difficult flavors can become more palatable.
v More resistant to disease
Plants and animals that have been genetically modified can become more resistant to the unexpected problems of disease. Think of it as a vaccine for that plant or animal, except that the vaccine is encoded into the genetics instead of a shot given to the immune system.
v More nutrition benefits
GMO foods can have vitamins and minerals added to them through genetic modifications to provide greater nutritive benefits to those who eat them. This is especially common in developing countries that don’t always have the access to needed resources.
JESÚS MEJÍAS , DAVID COBO, JULIÁN GONZÁLEZ, MOHAMED EL HAIMUD AND PAULA DONATE - 4ºA