The issue regarding genetically modified organisms has currently drawn a lot of media attention and debate, as more and more critics fear that genetically modifying plants and animals may bring about fundamental changes in the genetic make up of these organisms.
Just what exactly are genetically modified plants and GE animals? These are organisms that are genetically altered so that they develop useful or desired traits. The idea of genetically modifying plants and animals may be an exciting one; however the long-term effects have not yet been fully ascertained or studied until now. Genetic engineering has many applications in different fields, from agricultural to pharmaceutical and medical applications.
The Common Reasons For Avoiding Genetically Engineered Salmon
The PR machine of the GE industry is usually quick to point out that genetically engineered food may help reduce world hunger, at least in theory. The bio-tech industry says that as new species are genetically modified, these can be used to feed poor nations, and can be planted in areas where environmental conditions are poor. Some bio-tech companies have even claimed that they have already produced crops and animals that are resistant to certain diseases, and provide specific nutrients which would otherwise not be available if they were not genetically altered.
Critics of genetically engineered plants and animals however fear that tinkering with the DNA and genetic makeup of these creatures may pose a grave threat to the environment, as well as to the health of consumers. Some fear that the introduction of genetically engineered salmon for instance, may infect the food supply, and wipe out natural salmon herds. Public interest groups and environmentalists also argue that genetically engineered salmon could also contain inadequate amounts of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, therefore they are urging the US Food and Drug Administration not to approve the entry of GE salmon eggs.
Why Genetic Engineering In Animals Produces Only Bogus Copies
Proponents of genetic engineering in animals strongly argue that modifying the genetic makeup of plants and animals is good for us. They stress that GE corn for example is altered to make it insect and drought-resistant, while GE tomato is altered to slow down the rotting process.
Staunch critics of genetic engineering though strongly point out that modifying the essence of a plant or animal alters its dynamics, in a lot of ways. Public interest groups fear that the alterations can pose serious threats to our health and safety. The critics of genetic engineering of animals stress that poor countries will also not have easy access to GE food, unless it is given straight to them by the bio-tech companies or the world's richest nations.
The influx of genetically-modified food could also result in a high level of dependence on the side of third world nations, and may lead to the creation of a monopoly on the agricultural sector, since bio-tech companies will have a stranglehold on the patents and rights to genetically modified plants and animals.