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Genetically Modified Foods: Pros and Cons

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Kohren Joseph

on 17 October 2013

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Transcript of Genetically Modified Foods: Pros and Cons

Genetically Modified Foods: Pros and Cons
THE HISTORY BEHIND GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOODS
1865 -Gregor Mendel's publicized his discoveries on the breeding of peas, which became the foundation of modern genetics.
1935 – DNA Discovered
Russian scientist Andrei Nikolaevitch Belozersky isolates pure DNA.
1973 – Recombinant DNA Created
The idea for man-made DNA, or rDNA, comes from a grad student at Stanford University Medical School. Professor Herbert Boyer and a few of his biologist colleagues run with it.
1975 – Asilomar Conference
A group of biologists get together with a few lawyers and doctors to create guidelines for the safe use of genetically engineered DNA.

Pros 2
> Herbicide Tolerance

The plants, most of which have been modified to resist pests or weed-killing herbicides, seem to pose minimal risks to human health.

> Virus Resistance

There are three commercialized virus-resistant GM varieties: zucchini, crookneck squash and the only commercialized GM fruit, papaya. GM papaya grows solely in Hawaii and was introduced in 1998 to protect the crop from the devastating ring-spot virus.

In the late 1980s, the University of Hawaii began developing a papaya cultivar resistant to Papaya Ringspot Virus.
History continued...
1980's to early 1990's China first to put GM crops on sale, namely a virus-resistant tobacco and a tomato.
1980 – First GMO Patent Issued
A 1980 court case between a genetics engineer at General Electric and the U.S. Patent Office is settled by a 5-to-4 Supreme Court ruling, allowing for the first patent on a living organism. The GMO in question is a bacterium with an appetite for crude oil, ready to gobble up spills.
1983-Four separate groups of scientists create GM plants; three groups insert bacterial genes into plants and one inserts a bean gene into a sunflower plant.
1982 – FDA Approves First GMO
Humulin, insulin produced by genetically engineered E. coli bacteria, appears on the market.
1988- Transgenic maize is produced.
History continued...
1994 – GMO Hits Grocery Stores
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves the Flavr Savr tomato for sale on grocery store shelves. The delayed-ripening tomato has a longer shelf life than conventional tomatoes.
1995 -1996 Roundup Ready Soybeans (soy beans resistant to glyphosate herbicide (Roundup)) introduced in the USA.
1996 – GMO-Resistant Weeds
Weeds resistant to glyphosate, the herbicide used with many GMO crops, are detected in Australia. Research shows that the super weeds are seven to 11 times more resistant to glyphosate than the standard susceptible population.
1997 – Mandatory Labels
The European Union rules in favor of mandatory labeling on all GMO food products, including animal feed.
History continued...
1999 – GMO Food Crops Dominate
Over 100 million acres worldwide are planted with genetically engineered seeds. The marketplace begins embracing GMO technology at an alarming rate.
2003 – GMO-Resistant Pests
In 2003, a Bt-toxin-resistant caterpillar-cum-moth, Helicoverpa zea, is found feasting on GMO Bt cotton crops in the southern United States. In less than a decade, the bugs have adapted to the genetically engineered toxin produced by the modified plants.
2011 – Bt Toxin in Humans
Research in eastern Quebec finds Bt toxins in the blood of pregnant women and shows evidence that the toxin is passed to fetuses.
2012 – Farmer Wins Court Battle
French farmer Paul Francois sues Monsanto for chemical poisoning he claims was caused by its pesticide Lasso, part of the Roundup Ready line of products. Francois wins and sets a new precedent for future cases.
FUTURE OF GMOs
2014 – GMO Patent Expires
Monsanto’s patent on the Roundup Ready line of genetically engineered seeds will end in two years. In 2009, Monsanto introduced Roundup 2 with a new patent set to make the first-generation seed obsolete.
By Kohren Joseph, Justin Smith, Jeromma Brown, Caroline Pounal, and Alexys Kelly
Pros 1
Pest Resistance-Scientists can insert specific genes to drive away bugs and insects
Herbicide Tolerance-Crops can be genetically-engineered to eradicate the need for herbicide which can reduce environmental damage.
Disease Resistance-scientists can create plants, through genetic engineering, that are resistant to diseases.

Cold Tolerance-an antifreeze gene from cold water fish can be injected into plants like potatoes and tobacco.
The antifreeze gene allows plants to form tolerance to cold temperatures.
Drought Resistance-Scientists can manipulate plants through genetic engineering to allow them to endure droughts and bad soil quality.
Nutrition-GMO’s allow for the creation of edible vaccines in the form of potatoes and tomatoes.
> Insect/Pest Resistance

Plants modified to express insecticidal proteins from Bacillus thuringiensis (referred to as Bt-protected plants) provide a safe and highly effective method of insect control. Bt-protected corn, cotton, and potato were introduced into the United States in 1995/1996 and grown on a total of approximately 10 million acres in 1997, 20 million acres in 1998, and 29 million acres globally in 1999. The extremely rapid adoption of these Bt-protected crops demonstrates the outstanding grower satisfaction of the performance and value of these products. These crops provide highly effective control of major insect pests such as the European corn borer, southwestern corn borer, tobacco budworm, cotton bollworm, pink bollworm, and Colorado potato beetle and reduce reliance on conventional chemical pesticides. They have provided notably higher yields in cotton and corn. The estimated total net savings to the grower using Bt-protected cotton in the United

States was approximately $92 million in 1998. Other benefits of these crops include reduced levels of the fungal toxin fumonisin in corn and the opportunity for supplemental pest control by beneficial insects due to the reduced use of broad-spectrum insecticides. Insect resistance management plans are being implemented to ensure the prolonged effectiveness of these products. Acute, subchronic, and chronic toxicology studies conducted over the past 40 years establish the safety of the microbial Bt products, including their expressed insecticidal (Cry) proteins, which are fully approved for marketing. Mammalian toxicology and digestive fate studies, which have been conducted with the proteins produced in the currently approved Bt-protected plant products, have confirmed that these Cry proteins are nontoxic to humans and pose no significant concern for allergenicity.
On-farm field trials carried out with Bt cotton in different states of India show that the technology substantially reduces pest damage and increase yields. The yield gains are much higher than what has been reported for other countries where genetically modified crops were used mostly to replace and enhance chemical pest control. In many developing countries, small-scale farmers especially suffer big pest-related yield losses because of technical and economic constraints. Pest-resistant genetically modified crops can contribute to increased yields and agricultural growth in those situations, as the case of Bt cotton in India demonstrates.
> Delayed Ripening

> Modified Starch

> Modified Oil

> Disease Resistance

> Plants are adaptable to harsh enviroments

> Increase iron content (Similarly, GM rice has also been altered in such a

way to counter iron deficiency. By altering its genome through the insertion of a gene from the Aspergillus niger fungus, so-called Iron Rice exhibits increased iron content.13)


Nonindigenous species have been introduced into the United States intentionally and unintentionally for centuries; an estimated 50,000 species in the United States are not native (2). While many nonindigenous species are regarded as harmless or beneficial, other introduced species, commonly referred to as invasive species, have spread widely in their nonnative ecosystems and caused unintended degradation of natural ecosystem functions and structure

Invasive species are also expensive, costing the United States an estimated $137 billion annually in direct and indirect effects, and control or prevention measures (2). Indeed, invasive species have been categorized as one of the three most pressing environmental problems, in addition to global climate change and habitat loss (4).
Antibody resistant DNA in the gut of animals may produce disease that are resistant to antibiotics

Socioeconomic Concerns

GM crops bring to the forefront issues of dominance, power and control, both, domestically and abroad. As William F. Engdahl exposes in his book “Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation”, “control the food and you control the people.”

Socioeconomic concerns stem in part from intellectual property protection and the profit interest that flows from it. Fundamentally, however, it is not simply the profit-driven perspectives of the biotech industry that have so many civil society advocates concerned. Knowledge that once belonged to everyone, a communal understanding of seeds, crops, farming practices, and an appreciation for biodiversity is now being gobbled up, privatized, patented, and sold to those same farmers in licensed chunks. As many farmers have painfully discovered, using GM seeds comes with legal strings (and penalties) attached. Biotech companies require farmers to enter into license agreements in which farmers waive rights, including the right to save seeds. These contracts also, among other things, “encourage” farmers to use company specific pesticides. No wonder many farmer advocates are concerned that such imposition of GM seeds is tantamount to corporate colonialism.
Cons 2
Works Cited
A brief history of genetic modification."gmeducation.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Oct. 2013. <http:// www.gmeducation.org>.
Whitman, Deborah B. "Genetically Modified Foods: Harmful or Helpful?" Genetically Modified Foods: Harmful or Helpful? N.p., Apr. 2000. Web. 16 Oct. 2013.
Woolsey,  GL. "GMO Timeline: A History of Genetically Modified Foods | GMO InsideGMO Inside." GMO Inside | If corporations won’t label GMO foods, then we the people will! GMO Inside. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Oct. 2013. <http://gmoinside.org/gmo- timeline-a-history-genetically-modified-foods/>.
Food Allergies
One of the prime concerns
The possibility of a food allergen may be predictable if the added DNA comes from a food that is known to commonly produce such reactions, such as peanuts.
Environmental Effects
Bioaccumulation of Bacillus thuringiensis ("Bt") toxins is a common concern.
“Marker” genes for antibiotic resistance.
Transfer of GMO Genes and Its Effect
Cross Breeding (Weeds)
Pollen Drift
Seed Spillage
What are the threats GM crops pose on Organic Farmers?
Organic farmers certification
Detection of unexpected modified seeds
Substantial decrease in worth of the crop
Cons 1
massive bee die-offs of the last four years, at least one contributing factor is the increased use of pesticides neonicotinoid insecticides Thiametoxam, Clothianidin, Acetamiprid and Thiacloprid . If there is anything we learned since GM crops went commercial is that pesticides and GMOs go hand-in-hand.
International Resistance to GM crops
Farmers loss of $814 million in foreign sale
Over supply in domestic market
United States Government wants foreigners to accept the production of GM crops
Effects of Agriculture
One of the primary concerns about the effect of genetically modified crops on farmers is that of economic costs and controls.
These include:
Continual updating of modified food
Renewing of licenses
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