Impact of genetically engineered food
Genetic modification (GM) is the area of biotech concerns itself i.e, the manipulation of genetic material in the living organism enabling them to perform specific functions. The earliest concept of modification for domestification and consumption of plants dates back 10,000 years where human ancestors practiced “selective breeding” and “artificial selection” – the Darwinian – coined terms broadly referring to selection of parent org. having desirable traits (eg.hardier stems) and breeding them for propagating their traits.
The most dramatic alteration of plant genetics using these methods occurred through artificial selection of com-from a weedy gram possessing tiny ears and a few kernels to the current cultivars of edible com and maze plants. The use of IIIrd techniques has also been reported to desire current variants of apples, broccoli and bananas difference from their ancestral plant forms i.e. are vastly drivable for human consumption.
Eg : the evolution of modern corn/maize from teosinte plants by repetitive selective breeding over several generations. The developments leading to modern genetic modification took place in 1946 where scientists first discovered that genetic material was transferable between difference Species. This was followed by DNA double helical structure discovery and the conception of DNA to RNA and subsequent translation into the proteins – by Watson and Crick in 1954. Consequently , a series of breakthrough experiments by Bayer and Cohes in 1973, i.e involved “cutting and pasting” DNA between different species using restriction endonucleases and DNA Ligase “Molecular scissors and glue”; successfully engineered the world’s first GM organism in agriculture, the first GM plants – Antibiotic resistant tobacco and Petumia – were successfully created in 1983.
In 1990 china became the first country to commercialise GM Tobacco for lines resistance. In 1994, the flavr Savr Tomato become the first ever Food and Drug administration (FDA) approved GM Plant for human consumption this tomato was genetically modified for delayed ripening and resistance to not. Since thus, several transgenic crops received approvals for large scale human production in 1995 and 1996.
Initial FDA approved plants included, corn/maize, cotton, potatoes (BT) gene modification, conola (calgese increased oil production), Cotton (Bromoxynil resistance) and round up read soyabean. Currently, the GM crop pipeline has expanded to cover other fruits, vegetables, and cereals such as lettuce, strawberries, eggplant, sugarcane, rice, wheat carrots etc. with planned uses to increase vaccine bio-production, nutrients in animal feed as well as to confer salinity and draught resistant traits for plant growth in unfavourable climate and environment.
Since their commercialization, GM crops have been beneficial to both economy and the investment. The global food crop yield has increased by $370 million tones over a relatively small acreage area. Further more, GM crops have been recorded to reduce environmental and ecological impact, leading to increase in species diversity. It is therefore unsurprising that GM crops have been commended by agricultural scientists, growers and most environmentalists worldwide.
Nevertheless, advancement in GM crops have raised significant questions of their safety and efficacy. The GM seed industry has been plagued with problems related to human health and insect resistance which have seriously undermined their beneficial effects. Moreover, poor science communication by seed companies, a significant lack of safety studies and current mistrust regarding GMOs have only compounded problems
Challenge in commercial agriculture: Despite employing nearly 1 in 5 people worldwide(19% of world’s population). The agriculture industry is projected to suffer significant global set backs (population growth, pest resistance and burden as natural resources) by 2050
Explosive population Growth: The FAO projects the global population to grow to approx 9.7b by 2050 – a near 50% increase for 2013. Compounded with other problems such as improved nutritional standards in the burgeoning lower-middle clam and due to degradation and accelerated urbanization, rapid world population expansion will increase demand for food resources.
Antibiotic Resistance: when crops are modified to include antibiotics and there items that kill germ and pests. It reduces the effectiveness of as antibiotic can other medication when it is needed in the traditional sense. Because the foods contain trace amounts of the antibiotic when consumed, any organisms that would be affected by a prescription antibiotic have built an immunity to it i.e., can cause an illness to be more difficult to cure.
Genes travel into different plant species:-
Crops share fields i.e other plants include weeds. Genetic migrations are known to occur. What happens when the genes from an herbicide – resistant crop get into the weeds it is designed to kill? Interactions at the cellular level could create unforeseen complications to future crop growth where even the benefits of genetically modified foods may not outweigh the problems that they were. Eg: Dozens of weed species are already resistant to atrozine (pesticide) (weedicide).
Caricinogen exposure risk: Research shows that crops tolerant to commercial pesticides greatly increased the risk of cancer developments. Because the disease is caused by mutations in DNA, it is dangerous to introduce new genes into the body.
Out crossing: it is the risk of genes from certain GMO crops plants mixing with those of conventional crops.
Development of insect resistance: Monarch butterflies which feed as milk weeds in North America was found to be poisoned when fed as BT-Corn/BT Maize as compared to Non GMO pollens on the Sea- side.
Risk of Transgenic Herbicide – Resistance
The repeated use of an herbicide causes a shift in the weed flora CO2 there is very high selection pressure on weeds to evolve biotypes that are resistant to herbicides an i.e., transgenic plants breed to be tolerant of those herbicides.