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The arguments for and against genetically modified foods

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Introduction

The arguments for and against genetically modified foods Genes are found in every living organism and are said to be the blueprints of the organism. Genetic engineering involves modifying the DNA sequence involving the insertion of new genes. These modifications are particularly done by artificially transferring the genes specific to one organism to another. This enables scientists to isolate desirable qualities from one organism and insert it into another to improve the organism involved. This at first thought sounds very appealing, as the possibilities are endless, for example to enhance the yield of certain crops or to allow crops to be resistant to herbicides or improved nutritional content. However on closer analysis the disadvantages out way the advantages. When researching this topic the vast majority of text derived concerned the dangers of genetically modified (GM) foods. The main issue with GM foods is that it is unnatural and said to be playing "God". ...read more.

Middle

This is due to "when a new gene is inserted into any organism there is a "Position effect" which entails an unpredictable pattern of gene expression and genetic function." This means that the protein that is the product of the inserted gene could have unpredictable reactions and produce potentially toxic products. This means that genetic engineering can introduce dangerous new allergens and toxins into foods, which were naturally safe. Thus questioning the necessity of genetic engineering. Already bacteria genetically engineered to produce large amounts of the food supplement, tryptophan, have produced toxins that killed 37 people and severely affected roughly 1,500 people in the USA. There have been many other cases where genetic engineering has caused problems. Many of these has been written in local papers, such as in September 29th 1999 genetic pollution was proved as GM oilseed rape pollen was found four and a half kilometres from the trial farm site. ...read more.

Conclusion

The side effects of this improvement are that "super weeds" could be created, causing disastrous events. This also would mean the amount of herbicides used increased, meaning a greater amount of contamination of our water. This is due to these toxins being washed into rivers and therefore contaminating the water, the water we use. Even though the list of advantages is endless and the short-term effects are appealing, there is no way of predicting the overall long-term effects of GM foods. This in turn questions whether GM foods will affect the health of those who consume the foods. The original genetic structure of plants has been feeding the human race since the human race evolved. The blind tampering of nature is reckless and dangerous to our health. Once genetically modified organisms are released into the wild they can never be recalled and their effects will spread without limit. I have illustrated both the advantages and disadvantages of GM foods, and I personally I don't believe it is necessary. By Luke Bannister, 12PW ...read more.

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