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Genetically Modified Organisms: For and Against Essay

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Updated: Nov 2nd, 2021

Introduction

First of all it is necessary to mention that the development of the genetic engineering has originated the appearing of genetically modified foods and organisms. Originally, the genetically modified foods are derived from the organisms. The fact is that, genetic modification is the changing of the DNA code by the means of the genetic engineering, thus, the genes of the organisms are deviating from the normal genes of similar organisms, consequently, these organisms may be regarded as mutants.

It is stated that the genetically modified foods first appeared on the market in 1990s. These products were soybeans, corn, canola, and cotton seed oil, but animal products have been developed. Thus, Stewart (2004, 56) sates the following: “in 2006 a pig engineered to produce omega-3 fatty acids through the expression of a roundworm gene was controversially produced. Researchers have also developed a genetically-modified breed of pigs that are able to absorb plant phosphorus more efficiently, and as a consequence the phosphorus content of their manure is reduced by as much as 60%.

It is stated that while the technological and scientific progress and development in the sphere of biology and molecular researches promises an essential potential for the benefits of the humanity in the sphere of deeper understanding of nature and its laws, the humanity imposes essential risks on the health of peoples and ecological safety of thee environment. The existing biological diversity is the largest treasure of the planet, and, there is strong necessity to save it intact: without removing or adding anything.

Discussion

For Genetic Modification

Originally, the discussion on the matters of the GMO is rather broad and burning. It should be stated that the benefits of the genetic modification are discussed and stated much rarer than the harms. Consequently, it is necessary to discuss the benefits first. The fact is that, the benefits are rather promising and sound excitingly. These are the foods which grow faster, they are not subjected to insect attacks. There may be several harvests in a season: the genetic modification is aimed to struggle with hunger and poverty in the driest regions and regions where locust or other plant pests make serious obstacles for gathering sufficient harvests.

Here, all the potential benefits are exhausted, and the severe truth begins. It is necessary to mention that the impact of the genetically modified foods on the human organism has not been studied properly. The consequences of artificial genetic diversity are not known for the ecosystem of our planet. The ecologic safety has not been approved, as there were no tests for it.

Against Genetic modification

Still, the facts, which are the most stubborn thing in this world, approve the danger of genetic modification, as it is the direct violation of the laws of the nature. Thus, since 2004 some cotton plantation workers are subjected to serious allergic reactions to Bt cotton (genetically modified breed), and experience no reaction contacting with normal cotton. Moreover, the longer the contact was, the severer the consequences and the reaction of the organism. Doctors report that nearly 100 cases were registered in 2004, and more than 150 in 2005. The symptoms are the itching, and red swollen eyes.

As for the allergic reactions, Deal and Baird (2003) in his research stated the following: “The increased concentrations of tryptophan in the ferment or may in turn have led to increased production of trace impurities. Shortcuts had been taken in the purification process to reduce costs. For example, a purification step that used charcoal adsorption to remove impurities had been modified to reduce the amount of charcoal used. It is possible that one or more of these modifications and/or the environment for manufacture allowed new or greater impurities through the purification system.

Taking into account the world statistics, it should be stated that 37 lethal cases have been already registered because of genetically modified foods consumption. Close to 1500 people were disabled. As for the facts against GMO, they are in general the following:

  • Allergens are contained in extreme proportions in GMO. There is no doubt, that allergens are transferred to plants by the means of genetic modification.
  • The genetic modification by the means of such called horizontal gene transfer and recombination my become the reason of appearing genetically new bacteria and viruses. Taking into account that the humanity does not have immunity for such threats, the consequences may be fatal.
  • If new types of viruses and bacteria appear, the immunity is not the only thing that will not be able to fight it. There will be no remedy against it, as all the antibiotics (even the wide spectrum of action) are effective against known bacteria. All the remedies will become useless.

Taking into account the danger of genetically modified bacteriological danger, it will be necessary to cite Stewart (2004): “BSE demonstrates how little we understand. We assume feed contaminated with animal remains caused it, but organophosphates may be implicated too. There is uncertainty how it is passed on. We do not know how to cure it. We do not even know how to test for it. Now we are creating thousands of transgenic life forms, releasing them into the environment, eating them, and we are supposed to believe they can guarantee no disasters.” Nothing will be left but hoping for the best.

Originally, the main danger is covered in the fact that genetic modification is the process of creating the genetic mazes and manipulating the genetic codes in the ways, which are not natural. The processes, which are not natural, can not be totally controlled by a human, as the natural surrounding differs from a laboratory one on the one hand, and the genetics has not reached the high levels yet on the other hand. Thus, the fact of genetic pollution is quite possible. This means that GMO’s may spread all over the world and influence the genetic codes of natural organisms by interbreeding with them. Thus, the not modified environment may become genetically polluted, and the destiny of future generations appears to be unforeseeable and uncontrollable. There will be no way back, as if the interbreeding starts, it will be impossible to stop it, thus, the environment will change essentially and forever.

Legislation

The fact that because of the commercial interest the fact of the presence of GMO in foods is concealed and not labeled makes everyone alerted. Surely, it may be reasoned by the general fear of genetically modified foods on the one hand, still, the fears are not unreasonable. Generally speaking, the people have the right to know what they are buying and eating, nevertheless, the public is deprived of the right to know about the presence of the GMOs, thus, there is no possibility to avoid them. However, the legislation in some states and world countries obliges the food industries mark their foods.

Moreover, some countries are supporting the idea of total prohibition of genetic modification of foods and organisms in general. Thus, In March 1996 the European Parliament voted against full and complete labeling of genetic modified food. Currently, there are numerous organizations all over the world, who aim to shed some light on the issues of genetic modifications, the benefits and dangers of GMOs and the potential consequences. Some of them are Greenpeace, Biowatch South Africa, and True Food Network.

A Way to Stop It

Originally, the only way to stop the spread of GMOs is to stop researches in these spheres. The way to stop the research process is to restrict it with the intellectual property rights. Stewart (2004) emphasizes the following: “The proprietary nature of biotechnology products and processes may prevent their access for public-sector research. This might have a stronger negative impact in developing countries where no private research initiatives are in place. In addition, most developing countries still do not provide patent protection to biotechnological products and technologies. Because patents have a national scope, the entry of products developed through proprietary biotechnologies could be prevented in those external markets where patent protection exists”

Conclusion

Finally it is necessary to mention that the genetic modification of the foods brings more dangers and hazards than benefits. Originally, these are the games with the laws and rules of nature, and the humanity is not able to realize the danger of such games in its full measure. The fact is that, there is strong necessity to protect the existing biological diversity and respect it as the global heritage. As North American Indians told “we did not inherit our planet from our ancestors – we borrowed it from our progenies”.

The fact is that, there are numerous obstacles, which prevent genetic modification experiments from being stopped: these are the commercial interests, the strong belief that genetic modification will help to benefit, and some others. Still, there are movements and tendencies in some States for prohibiting the experiments and production of the genetically modified foods, as the statistics and the facts are not consoling.

References

Deal, Walter F., and Stephen L. Baird. “Genetically Modified Foods: A Growing Need Plant Biotechnology Can Help to Overcome the World’s Concern for Feeding Its Ever-Growing Population.” The Technology Teacher 62.7 (2003): 18.

Stewart, C. Neal. Genetically Modified Planet: Environmental Impacts of Genetically Engineered Plants. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.

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