Genetic engineering is a technology which has been developed and is now slowly being utilized in different fields and in different parts of the world. One of the field where genetic engineering is in the field of agriculture. In this particular field, genetic engineering is mainly used to discover methods by which farmers can increase crop production which, in turn, ultimately increases food production.
Nowadays, many vegetables and fruits are slowly being genetically modified. One of the most common vegetables to be modified is corn, hence the term GE corn. But how safe is genetically engineered corn? Is it safe for public consumption? Studies show that any type of genetically engineered food can cause new allergies to evolve in the future. Antibiotic resistance as well as the formation of new diseases may also be bad effects which may result from long-term consumption of ge foods and corn is not exempt to this. But besides health issues, what are the other disadvantages of having genetically engineered corn in our environment?
Waterways At Risk Of GM Corn Contamination
Although much has been said about the probable health hazards related to GM corn, what remains to be yet seen are the environmental dangers that this type of crop may pose. According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), streams located near fields planted with genetically modified corn were found to have been contaminated by the insecticidal protein known as Cry1Ab.
This protein is produced by the gene found in a common soil organism known as Bacillus thuringiensis (BT), which is the gene inserted into genetically modified corn in order to make them more resistant to pests. Although consumption of BT by animals is said to be safe, the effects of Cry1Ab consumption is yet to be determined. Recent studies from Canada have already shown Cry1Ab contamination in mussels found along the waterways contaminated with Cry1Ab. The effect on these mussels is still unknown.
Will GMO Crops Have An Effect On The Rights Of Farmers To Own Their Seeds?
Another big issue that is slowly affecting farmers, especially those who are into organic farming, is that of contamination. It is now an established fact that GMO crops have to ability to contaminate other crops located near their vicinity via cross-pollination. Now, farmers are suing the GMO company Monsanto in order to protect themselves from possible patent infringement caused by cross-contamination from these genetically modified crops. It all started in 1998 when a pair of Canadian farmers was sued by Monsanto for having used their patented pesticide resistant canola.
The farmers, until then, had not realized that their crops were already which were being grown for experimental purposes were already contaminated with Monsanto’s crops. Monsanto continues to sue small farmers for patent infringement just because of cross-contamination by their crops.
GMO companies may claim that genetically modified crops are being developed for the good of agriculture. But after seeing the probable health and environmental hazards, as well as infringement on farmers’ rights, it makes us think about the actual consequences that come with the use of genetic engineering.