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Defined

There is a common misconception that ALL GMOs are bad. First let us examine the definition of this demonized term. A genetically modified organism (GMO) is any organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. The intent behind the modification process and lack of thorough testing before implementation is what concerns and scares the awakened public. Plants engineered to resist drought sounds great. Plants engineered to produce their own poisonous insecticide is an atrocity.

History

Humans have domesticated plants and animals since around 12,000 BCE, using selective breeding or artificial selection (as contrasted with natural selection).[1] The process of selective breeding, in which organisms with desired traits (and thus with the desired genes) are used to breed the next generation and organisms lacking the trait are not bred, is the oldest form of genetic modification by humans.[2][3] When genetic material from a different species is added, the resulting DNA is called recombinant DNA and the organism is called a transgenic organism. The first recombinant DNA molecules were produced by Paul Berg in 1972.[4][5]Genetic engineering, the direct manipulation of genes using biotechnology, was first accomplished by Herbert Boyer and Stanley Cohen in 1973.[6] Whereas selective breeding depends on naturally occurring genetic variation within a population or species, genetic engineering can involve the intentional introduction of genes from different species. Advances have allowed scientists to manipulate, remove, and add genes to a variety of different organisms to induce a range of different traits. From 1976 the technology became commercialized, with companies producing and selling genetically modified foods and medicines.

Genetically modified crops

Man different types of species of life have been modified, but we want to focus on our food. In agriculture, currently marketed genetically engineered crops have traits such as resistance to pests, resistance to herbicides, increased nutritional value, or production of valuable goods such as drugs (pharming). Products under development include crops that are able to thrive in environmental conditions outside the species' native range or in changed conditions in their range (e.g. drought or salt resistance). Products that existed and have been withdrawn include those with extended product shelf life, such as the Flavr-savr tomato.

Since the first commercial cultivation of genetically modified plants in 1996, they have been modified to be tolerant to the herbicides glufosinate and glyphosate, to be resistant to virus damage (as in Ringspot virus-resistant GM papaya grown in Hawaii), and to produce the Bt toxin, an insecticide that is documented as non-toxic to mammals.[7][8] Plants, including algae, jatropha, maize, and poplars,[9] have been genetically modified for use in producing fuel, known as biofuel.

Although labeling of genetically modified organism (GMO) products in the marketplace is required in many countries, it is not required in the United States or Canada and no distinction between marketed GMO and non-GMO foods is recognized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Farmers who grow crops by traditional means must pay extra for labeling but they have not changed their means of production. GMO corporations receive subsidies, incentives and do NOT pay extra for labeling. How fair is that to the people who choose to grow by tested, safe and traditional means? With GMO crops having only been in existence a short time, we still do not fully understand what long term effects they may have on us as a species. What possible effect will they have on us generations later?

Labeling should be required on GMOs , NOT Organics.






References


1. Noel Kingsbury. Hybrid: The History and Science of Plant Breeding University of Chicago Press, Oct 15, 2009
2. Clive Root (2007). Domestication. Greenwood Publishing Groups.
3. Daniel Zohary, Maria Hopf, Ehud Weiss (2012). Domestication of Plants in the Old World: The origin and spread of plants in the old world. Oxford University Press.
4. Jackson, DA; Symons, RH; Berg, P (1 October 1972). "Biochemical Method for Inserting New Genetic Information into DNA of Simian Virus 40: Circular SV40 DNA Molecules Containing Lambda Phage Genes and the Galactose Operon of Escherichia coli". PNAS 69 (10): 29042909. Bibcode:1972PNAS...69.2904J. doi:10.1073/pnas.69.10.2904. PMC 389671. PMID 4342968.
5. M. K. Sateesh (25 August 2008). Bioethics And Biosafety. I. K. International Pvt Ltd. pp. 456. ISBN 978-81-906757-0-3. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
6. "Genome and genetics timeline - 1973". Genome news network.
7. EPA Reregistration Eligibility Decision (RED) Bacillus thuringiensis "The potential risk to humans from dietary, non-dietary and occupational exposures of the delta-endotoxins and most of the cellular components of Bacillus thuringiensis are considered negligible." (p 34) "As described in the environmental assessment, section III(C), there should be no unreasonable adverse effects on nontarget organisms, or ground or surface water contamination concerns, from the delta-endotoxins and most of the cellular components of Bacillus thuringiensis when used according to currently approved label rates." (p 34
8. http://www.agf.gov.bc.ca/pesticides/infosheets/bt.pdf. Retrieved 21 January 2011
9. Hope, Alan (3 April 2013), "News in brief: The Bio Safety Council ...", Flanders Today, Page 2; In 2013, the Flemish Institute for Biotechnology was supervising a trial of 448 poplar trees genetically engineered to produce less lignin so that they would be more suitable for conversion into bio-fuels.