BENEFITS AND EFFECTS OF GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS (GMO)

BENEFITS AND EFFECTS OF GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS (GMO)-min

Genetically modified organisms have crowded the market today, but their safety regarding consumption is still controversial. Proponents say GMOs are resistant to diseases, have a shorter maturity time, and offer plenty in food and farm income. However, others say they cause cancers, allergic reactions, and exhaustion of the ecosystem.

GMO genes have been modified via genetic engineering technology to improve their growth, production, pest and diseases resistance, shelf life, and nutritional content. Such modifications are prevalent in the fields of Agriculture and Medicine. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) found that over 90% of the seeds used to plant crops such as maize, papaya, cotton, and soy are genetically modified.

Genetic modification has been done to animals to create different breeds that are more productive and adaptive to harsh ecosystems. More research has been conducted to determine the safety of these genetically modified foods to establish whether or not they are safe for consumption. However, some people perceive them as harmful to their health and environment too. Read this blog to understand the benefits and effects of genetically modified organisms.

Benefits of GMO

Genetically modified foods are common today and are of advantage to consumers and producers.

Protection Against Pests and Diseases

Genetically modified animals and crops are more resistant to pests and diseases, making them yield more. Farmers use fewer chemical pesticides on such crops. On the contrary, animals and plants not genetically modified are vulnerable to bacteria, diseases, and attacks by pests. Therefore, farmers get little from such crops and animals regardless of their efforts to protect them from attack.

Shorter Time for Maturity

Genetically modified animals and crops take a shorter period to mature. With a shorter period for maturity, they give maximum yield, which is much higher than the unmodified ones. Most farmers today are using these seeds, especially in areas that experience less rainfall.

They Are Adaptable to Harsh Environmental Conditions

Some parts of the world experience short rainfall and high temperatures that are unfavorable for crops’ survival. Today, some seeds are modified to be drought tolerant. Such seeds can withstand extreme heat, high levels of salt in the soil, and less rainfall. Their yield is not affected by these conditions, and they do well, like other crops in more favorable areas.

Foods Are More Available

Due to high yields and minimal cost production, food is readily available at an affordable price, which is beneficial to consumers. There are many fruits and vegetables in the market with better nutrition and less cost. They also have a long shelf life, including those that are seasonal. Such foods have led to improved health of consumers.

Better Farm Income

Genetically modified seeds require less attention compared to unmodified ones. Farmers use fewer herbicides and fertilizers on such crops. This minimizes the cost of production and maximizes profits.

EnvironmentallyFriendly Practices

Production of genetically modified food has led to little or no use of herbicides and pesticides in farming. These chemicals are unfriendly to the environment as theyaffect the soil and water. Overuse of such chemicals affects soil fertility due to increased soil acidity and makes water unfit for consumption.

Safe Food

Research has shown that genetically modified foods are safe for human consumption. These foods are safer than traditional food and are higher in nutrition. One of the recent modifications on rice has led to rice high in carotene, which prevents blindness. Food’s flavor and appearance have been enhanced by producing different species of a similar crop.

Effects of Genetically Modified Foods

The use of genetically modified foods has been linked with some health effects that mostly occur after long-term use. These side effects include.

Progression of Cancers

Cancer develops as a result of a mutation in DNA. Genetically modified food contains an added gene. Most people fear that this extra gene may cause mutations in the human body, leading to certain cancers. However, there exists no scientific evidence that supports this finding. Lack of this evidence does not guarantee the safety of these foods since there are no long-term studies on humans.

Increased Allergic Reactions on Consumers

Some consumers have developed allergic reactionsdueto the consumption of these foods. The extra foreign gene in genetically modified food might be the cause of these reactions. Currently, few or no cases of allergies are reported due to the consumption of genetically modified foods. However, those with soy allergies may develop allergic reactions to GMO foods.

Environmental Effects

GMO foods are resistant to herbicides. Farmers no longer till their land as they use herbicides to eliminate weeds from their farms. However, excess use of these chemicals affects soil fertility due to increased acidity in the soil. Chemicals used in farms may find their way into the water bodies making water unsafe for use.

How Can You Differentiate Genetically Modified Foods from Conventional Foods?

Although GMO foods are perceived safe, some people may want to avoid them. Sadly, one may not identify these foods in the market. Some labels indicate that foods are purely organic, but they might be containing GMO foods. Packed foods in-store may contain some GMO ingredients. However, those determined to avoid GMOs can eat locally produced food since they are likely to be purely conventional foods.

Caution

Current research shows that GMO foods are quite safe for consumption. All the same, the long-term effects of these foods are not known. There is a fear that using these foods regularly and for a long time may increase the chances of getting cancer. Therefore, to be on the safe side, avoid excessive use of them.

Conclusion

GMO foods are quite common today. Most farmers prefer genetically modified seeds since they yield more, are more resistant to diseases, take a shorter period to mature, and have the ability to withstand harsh environmental conditions. However, GMO foods may cause some allergies to consumers. They are also believed to cause some cancers due to their long-term use. If you wish to avoid these foods, consume those produced and sold locally as they are likely to be non-genetically modified.

Julia Davis

Mental health expert MS, University of Latvia I am deeply convinced that each patient needs a unique, individual approach. Therefore, I use different psychotherapy methods in my work. During my studies, I discovered an in-depth interest in people as a whole and the belief in the inseparability of mind and body, and the importance of emotional health in physical health. In my spare time, I enjoy reading (a big fan of thrillers) and going on hikes.

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