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GM Foods - Good or Bad?

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Introduction

GM Foods - Good or Bad? Humans have been modifying their food for thousands of years. Until the 20th century, this had to be done by breeding desirable characteristics into crops. This method requires a lot of effort and is rather imprecise. Genetic modification has enabled us to add qualities to crops that no amount of traditional breeding could. But in the 1960s, scientists made huge breakthroughs in their understanding of genetics. Many recognised that this new knowledge had the potential to revolutionise food production, creating huge benefits for the world. GM food promises to provide enormous benefits. Many modified crops could boost prosperity in the developing world and provide new choices for consumers. But there are huge risks involved in tampering with nature's code. GM foods could have unpredictable effects on the environment and on our health. ...read more.

Middle

Currently the only apparent benefits from growing GM crops are to the farming and biotechnology industries. Nonetheless it is true to say that this technology does have the potential to produce foods that could be of great consumer benefits such as: Tomatoes with increased vitamin content, food (such as peanuts) with reduced of no allergenicity, potatoes with higher starch content (which absorbs less oil when cooking), wheat with increased levels of folic acid to prevent spina bifida, wheat with increased fibre to reduce the risks of colon cancer, and rice with increased pro-vitamin A content to help combat blindness in rice-dependent developing companies. While gene technology has the potential to generate healthier foods, it could also provide crops that are designed to survive in harsh climates, or on land that has been rendered useless by high salt or mineral levels. ...read more.

Conclusion

Only a small fraction of the plant cells targeted with the new gene will actually incorporate that gene, it is difficult to identify altered cells. To combat this problem an antibiotic resistance gene marker is used, many concerns have been expressed about the possible transfer of antibiotic resistance genes to gut micro organisms which could reduce the efficiency of antibiotics as a treatment. Genetically modified foods differ from normal conventional foods in that it contains or is produced from genetically modified organisms. GM foods are subjected to an extensive range of analytical tests for food safety evaluation. Such tests include composition analysis, allergenicity tests, toxicological analysis, nutritional evaluation and many more. In my opinion, GM foods cannot be classed as wholly beneficial or not, they come with both their advantages and disadvantages. It is simply up to the individual whether the choose to opt for this new-found technology, or to stick with conventional food. Kerry Phillips. 8th March 2005. 12.9 General Studies. 1 An Introduction to GM Foods. ...read more.

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