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Published: Friday 25th of January 2013

GMO Essay Example

What are GMO’s?

Genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) are those that have had some part of their genetic material altered by genetic engineering in order to produce different goods that are more desirable or useful. GMO’s are used to compose a variety of foods and medications, as well as having value in scientific research. The world’s first GMO mouse was presented in 1973 and the first GMO plant in 1983. There are many conflicting opinions about the ethical side of GMO use and most of the opposition comes from an idea of changing nature, though the scientific value GMO goods can have is enormous.

Food and Plants

GMO foods have been in circulation for a number of years, with altered food taking up space in nearly every supermarket around the globe. GMO vegetation has been created to either increase its attraction to customers or to improve the longevity (e.g. making them resistant to diseases or more tolerant in droughts). GMO foods can also be a lot easier to manufacture and there are many examples of it in the world today, e.g. soybeans, tomatoes, corn and numerous leafy green vegetables. Crossbreeding has been carried out for years, e.g. the broccoli plant we know and love to eat today was once a tiny size, but we’ve made it larger and larger. GMO foods aim to speed up this same idea of acquiring better genes in plants and food items. There can be numerous advantages to poorer or less economically developed nations who can grow fruit and vegetables that are larger and more tolerant of their harsh weather conditions. The technology used to “improve” crops is carried out using a technique known as gene splicing, taking a small part of a gene and mixing it with the desired plant to produce something completely new. This is done on a microscopic scale by scientists in laboratory conditions.

Animals

GMO animals exist in today’s society just as much as plants do and since the introduction of genes into mice, rabbits, sheep, rats, and pigs in the 1970’s and onwards, the techniques have become more and more advanced. GMO animals have been used in a whole variety of ways including the production of fibers and other consumer products, enriching pets and improving animal health. More genetically modified animals are making their ways into conservation strategies, helping animals survive and prosper if they’re dying out, for instance, due to a disease that they don’t have a resistance for. GMO animals have also been a big aid to medical science and the process of producing GMO animals has allowed scientists to develop some of the first concrete models of human diseases. The process of creating GMO animals is often a lot slower and more cumbersome than with plants as animals are a lot more complex, but this expensive process can have some desirable outcomes. As time goes on, technology is sure to become both faster and less expensive, making gene splicing and GMO techniques for animals ever more precise and economically viable.

Controversies

There are some people that oppose to the production of GMO foods as they say that this will cause problematic foods that are unhealthy to eat, but science has generally dismissed these claims as being unsubstantiated. Any different DNA that is eaten by the body isn’t going to somehow pass through the destructive process in the gut and assimilate itself into the organisms that have eaten it. GMO foods pose no risks in terms of being consumed, but if companies start genetically modifying their crops so that they become infertile, this can lead to people needing to buy them again and again, which would push up the price of food inevitably. The case of GMO foods is not so clear-cut at times.

Conclusion

So what can be done with the process of genetically modifying a living thing? Is it a friend or foe in our society? The evidence suggests that, overwhelmingly, GMO produce positive benefits for societies and for the living things themselves. Many people say that is troubling to mess with the delicate ecosystem on Earth and that GMO may produce a lot of unintended negative consequences, however, there are really rather few possibilities for error and mass destruction, so it’s highly likely that genetically modified organisms will be here to stay for quite some time.
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