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Genetically Modified Food: Analysis and Implications Research Paper

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Updated: May 2nd, 2022

Technology has been applied in all sectors of the economy with an aim of improving overall productivity. One such move is through genetic engineering. Any product that has undergone such alteration is termed a genetically modified Organism or simply, GMO. This is the manipulation of natural genetic components of biological substances, a process is sometimes known as biotechnology, to come up with new products (Raju xiii).

A lot of controversies is apparent over the concept of genetic engineering being applied either on plants or animals. Among some of the issues raised come from religious, social, cultural and moral perspectives. A section of scientists are opposed to the idea with claims that it brings about irreversible damage to biodiversity by changing the natural setting of the environment (Parekh. 4).

Genetic engineering involves alteration of the cell which is the basic component of life. Specific interest focuses on deoxyribonucleic acid, otherwise known as DNA which is a component of the nucleus of eukaryotic cells. This is the classical identification marker for all organisms, a characteristic feature possessed by all biological forms (Steinbrecher, 1).

Its application forms the basis for forensic procedures giving compounding proof of attachment for classified evidence. DNA contains genes expressed in codes and it is through this basis that genetic modification experiments are conducted. From these proceedings, results are geared towards producing Genetically Modified (GM) crops which are beneficial to man. All living forms, plants and animals are made up of DNA as the genetic information carrier (Steinbrecher, 1).

Production of transgenic organisms through genetic modification involves the transfer of DNA segments from one organism to the next. The procedure brings about the perpetuation of foreign DNA characteristics onto the host as a recipient. Specific sections of desired DNA are cut and transplanted into a host by the help of a promoter and vector component (Steinbrecher, 1). A vector provides the means of transportation of genes to a compatible host.

Viruses are able to colonize almost all forms of cells, a feature allowing for their exploitation in making conveyance carriage means as vectors. This is because of the compatible nature of viral components. Plasmids, which are components of bacteria, are used together with other promoter segments for the successful manipulation of genes.

This assists in the completion of Plant regeneration processes through artificial methods. Getting desired features from GM crops relies on the professionalism of the biotechnologist and proper use of genetic engineering concepts (Steinbrecher, 1). Different ingredients are needed for successful genetic engineering procedure to come up with GMOs. Restriction enzymes are some of the useful components needed for successful achievement of results (Steinbrecher, 1).

Understanding the roots and origin of this technology is important for assessing the extent of progress made on different sectors of a country’s economies. Application of genetically modified crops is not a new discovery but rather, an idea which had been practiced since the ancient times of industrialization.

The emergence of civilization brought about many discoveries, among them being GMOs. Guaranteed supply of food, creation of employment and increased productivity were some of the reasons that propelled the exploitation of such ideas (Parekh 4). Improvement of food security is the main target of using Genetically Modified crops either directly within the food chain or due to secondary benefits. GM crops is, therefore, considered as a relevant replacement for inferior conventional crops which were more prone to attack by pests and other diseases leading to reduced production.

Artificial modifications of native products have enabled existence of better yields, shorter maturity periods and improved resistance to diseases. All the benefits are comparatively advantageous over typical conventional forms other than the contemporary issues of ethics. Ethical considerations based on GMOs could be presenting undesirable revelations with negative environmental influence and infections. Experimental accidents from biotechnology procedures may be a reason for serious health concerns (Parekh 4).

Religious norms and cultural beliefs are opposed to some genetic engineering applications claiming that it involves “mockery” of supreme power. Some suggests that it is an act of competing with God, as seen in the application of stem cell biology (Parekh 4).

Harnessing the potential benefits of genetically modified organisms, and of interest, GM crops, lie on personal judgment. A decision made based on the use of this technological tool follows self assessment on evidence, experience and considerations of balance between good and bad (Parekh 4). In the struggle for survival, man has invested his time and efforts to devise means of producing commodities for consumption and sustenance.

There are documentations of primitive forms of plant and animal modifications as early as 10000 years ago. The only difference between these two varied time-gaps in advancement is due to ancient civilization and technology (Parekh 4). One classic application of genetic modification is seen in microbiology.

Here, production of commodities such as wine employs the use of biotechnology and microbiology in commercialization of microbial agents. Modern industries dealing with bakery, canning, fermentation and brewing firms have found an alternative concept in food processing which apply biotechnology in their operations (Parekh 4).

Works Cited

Parekh, Sarad and Gregg, Anne. “The Gmo Handbook”: Genetically Modified Animals, Microbes, and Plants in biotechnology, Totowa, New Jersey: Humana Press Inc. (2004). pp. 3-6. Print.

Raju, Kharagpur. D. “Genetically Modified Organisms” Emerging Law and Policy in India. Lodhi Road, New Delhi-110003. TERI Press. (2007).

Steinbrecher, Ricarda, WEN Trust,Synthesis / Regeneration”: A Magazine of Green Social Thought, Vol. 18 (1999), pp. 9-12, Web.

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