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Transcript of GMO
GMOs, (or Genetically Modified Organisms), are plants or animals that are genetically changed by scientists to exhibit certain/specific traits. In most cases, plants are commercially modified to withstand chemicals, such as herbicides and pesticides, or to increase crops, nutritional values, and/or drought tolerance.
How do they work?
Genetic modification changes the genes of the organism, and any change in the gene results to a change in the organisms characteristic.
During the process, the first thing that scientists do is they isolate the desired trait.(This is called mapping.) They then make a few copies of it in a process called PCR. The trait is then transferred using a piece of the organisms tissue. By doing this, the scientists creates a new organism.
After all this, the scientist must test to see if the desired trait shows, and that it also shows in the organisms posterity/seeds.
How did they originate?
Harmful Effects on Genetically Modified Animals
Genetically modified foods can present significant risks to humans. Some examples would be the production of new allergies, increased toxicity levels in foods, decrease nutritional values, and antibiotic resistance. Genetic modification often mixes/adds proteins that weren't part of the original plant or animal, causing new allergic reactions in the human body. In some cases, proteins from an organism that one may be allergic to may be added to an organism that they weren't originally allergic to, causing the same allergic reaction experienced from the first organism.
How has it affected our economy?
What's the big idea?
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)
What are They?
The percentage of Americans with three or more chronic illnesses jumped from 7% to 13% in just 9 years. This included an increase in food allergies and disorders such as autism, reproductive disorders, digestive problems, etc. Some GMO foods have had antibiotic features built into them to make them immune or resistant to diseases or viruses. When humans eat them, these antibiotic markers continue in their body and can make actual antibiotic medications less effective. GMO foods and regular exposure to antibiotics is contributing to the decreased effectiveness of antibiotic drugs.
Due to genetic modifications, there have been some environmental benefits. One of these has been the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. (In 2012, this meant the reduction of 27 billion kg of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.) Also, another thing is the plants resistance to bugs needed less pesticides, which is better for the environment. GM also result in the use of less land, because most of the crops have good and desirable traits and wont be affected by things like bugs and the weather, which in turn means that most of the plants will be healthy.
One of the main reasons why food is genetically modified is because of the nutritional values. Something that may be abundant in one food, may be lacking in another. Not all foods contain adequate amounts of all necessary nutrients to prevent malnutrition. Therefore, they are genetically engineered to contain additional vitamins and minerals, nutrient deficiencies could be alleviated. According to USDA, biotech crops may provide enhanced quality traits such as increased levels of beta-carotene in rice to aid in reducing vitamin A deficiencies and improved oil compositions in canola, soybeans and corn.
Benefits of GMOS
Benefits of Genetically Modified Animals
The idea of combining two different organisms to make one has been around for a long time. Since the prehistoric era, people have managed to connect the living branches of two different trees to make a hybrid fruit. In the 1900s, scientists started using Gregor Mendel's theory to produce plants/organisms with favorable genes.
In 1973, Herbert Boyer and Stanley Cohen successfully recombined the genes of two different organisms. About ten years later, (in 1982), the FDA approved the first genetically modified drug, which was Humulin.
In 1987, the US conducted experiments on genetically modified tomatoes and tobacco. In 1992, the Favr Savr tomato was produced commercially. These tomatoes were engineered so that they wouldn't soften too quickly after they ripened. In the same year, the FDA announced that GMOs were "not inherently dangerous", and therefore, they needed no special regulations.
Nutritional Benefits of Gmos
Genetically modified (GM) animals have their benefits. When humans eat GM animals, there is a less chance of any disease being transmitted, because in most cases, the animals are bred to be eaten. Also, the quality of it is enhanced due to the change in certain genes, and at the same time, the price is decreased due to mass production. GM animals also help the environment because certain changes in their genes cause them not to eat as much which also means that they won't produce as much waste.
More than 50 countries around the world require GMO labels. Some have banned GMOs outright. According to Fred Perlak of Monsanto, a label for GMOs would confer that there was something wrong with GMOs, so they fight against the labels.
After the polls closed, Prop 37 -- also known as the "Right To Know" initiative to require labeling of foods that have been genetically modified -- failed to pass. If approved, California would have been the first state to require such labeling for foods sold in the state, and would have prohibited products containing genetically modified ingredients to be labeled or marketed as "natural."
Regardless, fighting labeling laws is expensive business. The “No on 37″ campaign spent over $50 million on deceptive advertising to defeat the measure. Monsanto alone spent over $8 million. Advocates for the law spent less than $7 million total.
IN what ways has it affected society?
In America, about 60%-70% of the food contains GMOs. GMOs are most abundant in soy (93%), canola (90%), corn (88%), cottonseed (94%), papaya (75%), and sugar beets (54%), which are the main source of sugar in the US. About 53% of Americans either don't know what GMOs are, or they don't know that most foods contain them. Most GM foods aren't labeled as such, and therefore, it confuses people. About 93% of the population (that knew what GMO was) agreed that GM/ "bio-engineered" foods should be labeled as such. More women than men, (about 20%), said that they would buy the organic option if the GMOs were labeled.
Some farmers are losing money because of GMOs. Once the soil becomes resistant to the special traits the GMOs, they need to use the same amount of pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides on GMOs and regular crops. The GMO seeds are also more expensive to buy (in some cases, they can cost about $150 more per bag of seeds), and sometimes don't have the same kind of flavor that the regular crop would have.
Harmful Effects on Humans
Harmful Effects on Humans (cont.)
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When animals are genetically modified, sometimes they will portray harmful effects. During the experiment, animals may have a risk of dying, while others may be deformed at birth. When testing the animals, the natural ecosystem can be disturbed. Therefore, animals may live in odd conditions that affect their natural environment. The experimenting can possibly change genetic traits for their offspring. Genetically modified animals can lead to people getting sick.
In addition to allergies, another problem is on the rise in our nation’s children- autism.
During the same time period corresponding to the advent of GMOs in our processed food (from 1997 to 2008) the Pediatrics Journal reports a 250% increase in the prevalence of autism in American children- one out of 91 children are now diagnosed with autism.
Parallel Increase in Autism