Online Custom «Genetically Modified Organisms» Essay Sample

Genetically Modified Organisms

Since the introduction of the first genetically modified product, the history of confrontation between the opponents and supporters of the genetic engineering techniques of food production has begun. However, none of both sides have provided any persuasive arguments for or against the subject. Obviously, in connection with the ability to genetically modify organisms, humanity is on the verge of a major revolution in plant growing and animal husbandry. Although, GMOs can offer a large number of relatively inexpensive products that can reduce the deficit of food in many countries, their use arouses many suspicions. However, there is no single confirmed case which would prove that GMOs have a detrimental effect on human health, and, therefore, people should make their own choices whether to consume GM foods or not.

GMOs are organisms containing genes that were changed by genetic engineers. Genetic modification of organisms is based on special gen technologies that are able to alter their genotype. Thus, scientists combine genes from various organisms with the help of DNA technology that make products genetically modified, transgenic or genetically engineered (Bawa& Anilakumar, 2013).  GMOs were created in an effort to find a sensible solution to the issue of hunger. Therefore, the growing population seems to be no longer a threat due to this major discovery. As thus, science first took control of the most important function of nature - the process of evolution with the help of GMOs, providing an increasing need for food. Nevertheless, the approach of genetic engineering, which at times increases the output volumes of products, has a downside, which the developers of technology prefer to conceal from the public, while the manufacturers of such food benefit from substantial profits. Evidently, genetically modified products emerge as a result of the technology that helps to change hereditary traits in animals or plants. The resulting new species contains altered DNA, combining the biological memory code of several organisms. Remarkably, although nature has no such mechanisms, humanity has found a way to add fragments of DNA from one organism to another.

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Nowadays, GMOs have become an integral component of people’s meals globally. At the same time, the question of the influence of GMOs on human health is still unanswered. In fact, genetic scientists have been attempting to resolve the ambiguity surrounding this topic for more than 10 years, but they cannot come to a definite conclusion as to how the transgenic products affect the human body and what consequences of their use people can expect in the distant future. However, since the introduction of GM foods, nobody has provided explicit results of their properties and impact.

Overall, GMOs can cause carcinogenic and mutagenic reactions, since they tend to accumulate pesticides, herbicides, and products of their decomposition. For example, the herbicide glyphosate, applicable to the cultivation of transgenic sugar beet and cotton, is a strong carcinogen that can lead to lymphoma (Bawa & Anilakumar, 2013). In addition, numerous herbicides affect the chances of survival of human embryos that can result in mutations. Because of intracellular processes in varieties of transgenic tobacco and rice characterized by increased yield, biologically active substances accumulated in these products can provoke the development of cancer. The evidence reveals that many substances designed to fight insects are able to block enzymes in the digestive tract of humans, i.e. in their pancreas (Bawa & Anilakumar, 2013). There is a high probability that foreign DNA can accumulate in the human body, as well as enter the nuclei of embryonic cells, which can lead to congenital deformities and even to fetal death.

 
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Some experts believe that the modeled genes are capable of causing genetic mutations in the cells of the human body. Therefore, GMOs can have a negative effect on person’s health. Currently, one of the main facts that indicates the harmful nature of GM foods is that the microorganisms that inhabit the human digestive tract can absorb the foreign genes and integrate them into their gene structure. Consequently, according to the findings of a number of experiments, some genes may activate rapid growth; moreover, this process can spawn the acquisition of various forms in vegetables and fruits (Bailey, 2013). As a result, such genes can impel different neoplasms to increase in size. For example, the regular consumption of genetically modified potatoe and soybeans can cause violation of the function of endocrine glands and allergic reactions (Bailey, 2013). In addition, GMO components are found in many usual foods, even in children’s mixtures. Accordingly, it has become a matter of concern of those who oppose the application of GMOs in food production.  Therefore, annually, several countries refuse to consume genetically modified products or introduce restrictive measures.

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Furthermore, GMOs can lead to the development of resistance to antibiotics. According to a recent study, most agricultural GM crops, in addition to genes that impart the desired properties to them, contain genes for resistance to antibiotics as markers (Bawa & Anilakumar, 2013). For example, conventional antibiotics, such as ampicillin used to treat respiratory infections, sinusitis, and urinary tract infections, as well as kanamycin capable of curing tuberculosis, upper and lower respiratory tract infections, and wound, are utilized in food production (Bailey, 2013). Therefore, they can create the resistance to antibiotics. In this case, the traditional methods of treating inflammatory processes with antibiotics will be ineffective. Thus, while some scientists say that GMO products do not pose a threat to human health, others conduct extensive research in an attempt to prove otherwise. Notably, there is an opinion that humanity will learn about the first results of eating transgenic products in two generations.

However, people do not have confidence in the safety of genetically modified foods. Although there is no direct evidence of their harmful effect on human health, many consumers, especially from the developed countries, refrain from eating products with GMOs. Therefore, nutritionists often alert the public to the dangers of consuming such products as chocolate bars Kitkat, Mars, Milky Way, Twix, Snickers, and M & M sweets. Furthermore, they recommend avoiding Coca-Cola, 7-Up soda, Lipton-tea, etc. since they belong to a group of common products with genetically modified ingredients that must be labeled with the abbreviation of GMOs (Bailey, 2013). Frequently, such products as rice, peas, potatoes, corn, meat, and dairy products appear on the list of food containing GM ingredients.

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On the other hand, there are many proponents who support the production of genetically modified organisms. Particularly, the main argument of the supporters of the CM products is the improved characteristics of the vegetables, fruits, and cereals (Bailey, 2013). It appears that genetically modified foods are more resistant to various bacteria and viruses. In addition, they are a longer shelf life. Nowadays, farmers do not have to utilize chemicals to save the harvest from pests. In fact, plants infused with GMOs can endure cold, heat, and salty soils. Many farmers believe that genetic modification is an effective way of making crops resistant to pestilence and drought. In addition, they see a great potential in biotechnical crops as a viable method of combating poverty in developing and undeveloped countries by increasing the yield of crops and the income of farmers, especially among those who are resource-constrained. In the long-term perspective, genetic engineering can increase profit and solve the problem of malnutrition in many economically disadvantaged countries.

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In conclusion, the answer to the question whether genetically modified organisms are harmful to human health is rather vague. Some consider them hazardous, while others believe that GMOs cannot jeopardize people’s health and the environment. Among the most common fears of eating GMO products are the risks of developing cancer, food allergies, reduced immunity, as well as mutations of different types. Although GMOs aim to solve the nutrition problem in the world, the public generally disapproves of modified products. However, there is no single scientific evidence that GMOs are harmful to human health, and, therefore, people must decide for themselves whether to consume GM food or not.

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