A lot has been heard in recent years about genetically modified organisms, otherwise known as gmo. Other terms associated with this newly discovered technology are genetic engineering, genetically modified crops, or even genetically modified food. Some examples of gmo in crops are cotton, rice, soya and maize. In farm animals, examples of gmo are salmon, pigs, cattle and chicken, all of which have been genetically modified to improve milk quality or resistance to particular diseases.
As good as improvements in the gmos seem to be, however, there are disadvantages to introducing gmos into the daily diet of humans. In order to understand gmos further, the question “What is a gmo?” must be answered.
Parents Want Government to Define GMO
In order to define GMOs, one must be able to define genetic engineering. Genetic engineering, otherwise known as genetic modification, involves the reconstruction of an organism’s set of genes by introducing genes from other organisms or by introducing a group of synthetic genes. GMOs are products which have been created as a result of genetic engineering.
There are many scientific protocols involved in genetic engineering such as the use of antibiotics to identify certain genes, or the use of viruses or bacteria to serve as vectors or carriers of the genes. The need to define genetic engineering and to elaborate on the different procedures must be done by the government in order to for parents to have a good understanding of what genetic engineering is all about.
Consumers, after all, have the right to information whether the information given is for or against genetic engineering. Only then will the consumers, most especially the parents, be able to make informed decisions regarding the purchase of gmos.
Mutant Crops Are Examples of Genetic Engineering
Examples of genetic engineering in crops come in three generations:
- The first generation consists of genetically modified crops which have been created to resist fungi, viruses and insects. GMO examples from this category are soybean, corn, canola, plum, rice and cotton which have been designed to resist pests and viruses.
- The second generation of genetically modified crops were meant to increase yield by being able to resist the effects of cold or drought. Some genetically modified crops having improved nutritional value were also created. An example would be a variety of rice known as “golden rice”, which is supposed to have higher levels of beta-carotene needed for vitamin A synthesis.
- The third generation of generation of genetically modified crops are now being used for pharmaceutical purposes as they are supposed to contain edible vaccines and other drugs. Transgenic bananas capable of carrying a vaccine against Hepatitis A are now being developed as an alternative form of vaccine for humans.
While looking at things from the surface, gmos may seem to have a purpose. Indeed, with so many problems besetting the world in terms of food supply and proper nutrition, the need to produce may serve as a key in solving this dilemma. However, the need to explain and define the different processes behind it is also a must in order for the consumer to make an informed choice.
As much as these crops may bring some advantages to the table, they may also cause some harm as their effects have not been fully studied. The long-term effects have yet to be seen and the unwanted results may be such that they no longer can be reversed.