GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISM
A genetically modified organism (GMO) is an organism whose genetic material has been altered using techniques of genetic generally known as recombinant DNA technology.
Recombinant DNA technology is the ability to combine DNA molecules from different sources into the one molecule in a test tube. Thus, the abilities of the phenotype of the organism , or the proteins it producers, can be altered through the modification of its genes.
The term generally does not cover organisms whose genetic makeup has been altered by conventional cross breeding or by ‘mutagenesis’ breeding as, these methods predate the discovery of the recombinant DNA technique. Technically speaking , however, such techniques are, by definition, genetic modification.
Experts anticipate the world’s population in 2050 to be approximately 8.7 billion persons. The world’s population is growing, but its surface area is not. Compounding the effects of population growth is the fact that most of earth’s ideal farming land is already being utilized. To avoid damaging environmentally sensitive areas, such as rain forests, we need to increase crop yields for land currently in use. By increasing crop yields through the use of biotechnology, the constant need to clear more land for growing food is reduced.
Countries in Asia, Africa and elsewhere are grappling with how to continue feeding a growing population. They are also trying to benefit more from their existing resources. Biotechnology holds the key to increasing the yield of staple crops by allowing farmers to reap bigger harvests from currently cultivated land, while preserving the land’s ability to support continued farming.
Genetically Modified Organisms -(GM) Food(Benefits )
- Enhanced taste and quality
- Reduced maturation time
- Increased nutrients, yields, and stress tolerance
- Improved resistance to disease, pests and herbicides
- New products and growing techniques
- Increase resistance, productivity, hardiness, and feed efficiency
- Better yields of meat, eggs and milk
- Improved animal health and diagnostic methods
- ‘Friendly’ bioherbicides and bioinsecticides
- Conservation of soil, water and energy
- Bioprocessing for forestry products
- Better natural waste management
- More efficient processing
- Increased food security for growing population.
- Potential to refine the lives of millions in the developing regions
Concerns Related to GMO’S:
- Potential Human Health Impact: allergens, transfer of antibiotics resistance markers, unknown effects Potential environment impact: unintended transfer of transgenes through cross-pollination, unknown effects on other organisms (e.g., soil microbes), and loss of flora and fauns biodiversity.
Access and Intellectual Property
- Domination of world food production by a few companies.
- Increasing dependence on industrialized nations by developing countries
- Biopiracy and foreign exploitation of natural resources.
- Violation of natural organisms’ intrinsic values.
- Tampering with nature by mixing genes among species.
- Objections to consuming animal genes in plants and vice versa.
- Stress for animal.
- Not mandatory in some countries (e.g., the United States)
- Mixing GM crops with non-Gm confounds labelling attempts
- New advances may be skewed to interests of rich countries.
Challenges facing Genetically Modified Food
- Genetically engineered crops and foods are controversial. Debate commonly focuses on the long-term health effects for those who consume GM foods, environmental safety, labelling and consumer choice, intellectual property rights, ethics, food security, poverty, reduction, environmental conservation and potential disruptions or even possible destruction of food chain. Proponents claims the technology to be a boon for the human race, while critics believe it to be a potential or actual health or ecological disaster.
- Bacillus thruringiensis (BT) is a spare farming (flash animation) bacterium that produces crystals protein (cry proteins) which are toxic to many species of insects.
- Giving into intense opposition from NGOs and several states, the government in February 2010, put on hold commercial cultivation of G.M Brinjal citing lack of clear consensus within the scientific community.