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Genetic modification of foods - Essay Example

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Genetic engineering is the process of altering the genes of a species by transferring certain traits from the genes of other species into it.Genes are composed of DNA and constitute instructions which direct the cell production of proteins …
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Genetic modification of foods
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Genetic modification of foods

Genetic engineering is the process of altering the genes of a species by transferring certain traits from the genes of other species into it. Genes are composed of DNA and constitute instructions which direct the cell production of proteins which in turn, facilitate the functions of the cell. Nevertheless, this is an act of meddling with the nature. These days various religious and public interest organizations, environmental activists and numerous other government and private agencies are raising their consent against the genetic modification of the foods. Agribusiness has received massive criticism for enhancing the profitability of the business with the genetic modification of food without care for the environment unfriendly side effects of the same. Owing to our limited knowledge, we are not able to identify many potential demerits of the practice of modifying the genes of the foods we consume. Nature knows its laws best and any attempt to improvise the nature of food does not come without side effects. Genetic modification of foods yields both direct and indirect unfavorable consequences. Genetic modification may not necessarily make the crop harmful to eat, but may also generate negative effects for the environment in the course of cultivating the very crop. In the Nature study, pollen from the B.t. corn was found to cause the monarch butterfly caterpillars to die in large numbers (Whitman). This was a surprising discovery since monarch caterpillars feed upon the milkweed plants instead of corn. The most likely way for the corn pollen to make it to the caterpillars’ stomach requires wind to blow them and place them upon the milkweed plants. A lot of effort has conventionally been made to cultivate such B.t. toxin that kills just the crop-destroying pests, but hardly any has met with success. Not only the butterfly caterpillars, but also several other species of organisms are exposed to the risk by the B.t. toxins. “These genetically modified organisms (GMOs) can spread through nature and interbreed with natural organisms, thereby contaminating non 'GE' environments and future generations in an unforeseeable and uncontrollable way” (“What wrong with”). Thus, we are increasing the resistance of our crops against diseases on the cost of the life of various species and organisms which are not only harmless for us but also play a fundamental role in the beautification of nature. Genetic modification of food cultivates an allergen into it. “[A] soybean engineered to contain genes from a brazil nut was found to produce allergic reactions in blood serum of individuals with nut allergies” (Massey). These reactions are very serious and have the potential to be fatal. In this particular case, conducting test for the allergenic potential was easier because of the commonality of the nut allergies but it may not be quite as easier in other cases. Identifying the food item that might have instigated the allergic reaction becomes very cumbersome when a familiar genetically engineered food starts producing unusual substances in the bloodstream. Sometimes, characteristics that have been induced in the food with positive intention can prove toxic in effect. For example, the Bt toxin that is produced by bacteria is conventionally deemed safe for the humans. Toxin in these bacteria sustains in the form of protoxin that yields negative effects for the insects after the digestive system of the insect has activated it. Humans lack sufficient knowledge about exposure to such a toxin form that is produced in activated form by the genetically modified Bt crops and existed before only in the insects’ ... Read More
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