Genetically Modified Food

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          Genetically modified food is an advanced biotechnology to change the genetic material of organisms both plants and animals which will be further processed into food available for human. The aim of this technology was to gain a better quality of food. The gene of the food was enhanced so as to create desirable phenotypes such as having a greater resistance to herbicides, improving the nutrients in foods, being able to tolerate adverse condition, increasing the growth rate or even introducing vaccines into the foods. Genetically modified food originated from genetic engineering which changed the genetic make-up of an organism. The first genetically modified product was tomato, produced in 1993 by California company in United States. This tomato was genetically modified to take longer time to decompose after being picked. After that, a variety of different kinds of food was modified such as soybeans, corns, potatoes and even vegetables in different countries all over the world.

          Before applying genetic technique in food, farmers also practiced the artificial selection on agriculture and cattle. They always choose the better quality crop which imply having better gene to produce next generation so that the overall quality of food was improving.  Using advanced biotechnology can do it in a faster and accurate way. Scientists know that the genes of an organism determine its feature and appearance. So the scientists use a special technique to alter the genetic material inside. It is like the ‘copy and paste’ method on the computer. For example, we would insert the B.thuringiensis gene into the corn in the following procedures.  First the double helix of DNA was isolated and uncoiled. Then, we use a special enzyme called restriction endonucleases. The enzyme was specific and sensitive to the DNA sequence related to Bt gene. This enzyme act as a scissor to cut out the desired gene. After that, an expression cassette is produced from the cut part gene. It consists of promoter and terminator which instruct   the corn cell where the gene begins and ends. Next, the expression cassette is inserted into the plasmid which come from a parasitic circle of DNA in a bacteria. Like a photocopier, many copies of genes are produced there. Finally, those copy of genes are introduced into corn cell and inserted in its genome. The cell would incorporated the inserted gene and make particular proteins according to the inserted gene DNA sequence so that a new character of the corn plant would appear.

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          Genetically modified food brings both benefits and potential hazards to the world. Genetically modified food solved a lot of world problems. First, it enables crop have great cold , drought and herbicide toleration or disease and pest resistance with addition of more nutrient values such as the vitamins and minerals. In this way, the production food can be carried in a massive and fast way so the rate of food produced can meet with the population growth rate. It solves the problem of malnutrition and starvation. Also, genetically modified food can apply in pharmaceuticals. ...

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