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Research the Impact of Genetically Modified Food on Health

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Abstract

Food is the nutrients that people or animals eat or drink or that plant absorbs to maintain life and growth. With the huge increasing population of the world, the food production from natural resources could not meet their needs. So the researchers move to produce more food using molecular-level techniques. This type of food is called genetically modified food (GM food), the food whose genetic material has been altered which is not present already in nature. Because the GM food is made to increase the nutrient content by mutation it has many advantages for human-like it increase the nutritional content, formation of pest, drought, herbicide, and cold resistant plants. But at the same time, it has negative impacts also. It is genetically unsafe, causing organ damages, allergic reactions in the digestive tract. But its advantages are more than its disadvantages so the researchers are trying to do their best to produce the crops with their desired characteristics by using molecular-level techniques.

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Introduction

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are those organisms in which the genetic material has been altering which are not already present in nature and the genetically modified foods are those foods derived from animal and the plants in which gene from particular desired characteristic are added to an organisms DNA. GMOs are used in various ways such as used in biological and medical research, production of pharmaceutical drugs, experimental medicine, and agricultural field. By gene alteration method we are improving the needs of food as well as it improves the quality of the food. We can get our desired characters or goals in plants and the animals (such as resistance to disease, improve shelf life) more quickly as compared to using traditional methods. Consequently, ethical issues are opened which describe the negative effect of the production of genetically modified foods. It shows that the insertion of the gene of interest for desired characters in the food may be protective whereas it may enhance the expression of a gene related to the chronic disease.

Methods of production of GM foods

Several methods are known for the production of GMOs from which we get the food. The foreign gene that has been inserted into the cell of microorganisms, plant or animal is called transgene. It is integrated into the genome of the recipients which are called transgenic. The transgenes are genes with known traits or mutated variants of known genes. In most cases also marker genes are used because of identification of transgenic organism the integration is done by different methods:

Electroporation

Electroporation is physical phenomena in which tiny pores are formed in the cell plasma membrane by applying a sufficiently high electric field. These pores are enough for the transport for a wide range of molecules such DNA into and out of the cell. It is a reversible and irreversible method. This occurs in the lipid bilayer of the membrane of all prokaryotes and eukaryotic cell. This method is first reported for excitable cells in 1958 and no excitable cells in 1967, for planer lipid bilayers in 1979, and for lipid vesicles in 1981.

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Microinjection

Microinjection is physical cell transfer method in which foreign genetic material (gene of interest) directly inject into cell part.

Nowadays, we developed an automated micropipette based quantitative microinjection technology. By this technology precise amount of material delivered into the cell. Other several microinjection systems are also introduced which based on robotic technology to enable automated injection which high transfection efficiency.

Agrobacterium-mediated transformation

It is a biological method of transfer the gene of interest into the plant genome. Agrobacterium tumefaciens is gram negative soil bacteria which cause disease in the plant (many woody and some herbaceous plant) called “Crown gall disease” through its Ti plasmid which causes plant tumor. A complex process is involved in the integration of T-DNA (Ti plasmid).

By replacing the Ti plasmid which causes infection we can solve the problem of the tumor in the plant. The first transgenic cotton was obtained by this method.

GM food needed why?

The GM food is used for such crops which are formed by genetic engineering. Such plants have been modified in the laboratory to improving many desired characteristics such as disease resistance or to improve nutritional value. Genetic engineering helps to create such plant with exact desire trait rapidly. For example by this technique, isolate a gene which contains drought tolerance trait and inserts that gene into the different plant. The new plant will be genetically modified drought tolerance. By increasing the population food demand also increases. So with the help of GM food, we can increase the quantity of food by using short land but high productivity is cultivated. As the food was deficient of many essential nutrients (vitamins, minerals) for example deficiency of Vitamin A causing many diseases such as (liver disorders, eye disorders)? Not only we can transfer the gene from plant to plant but we can transfer the gene from non-plant to the plants. The best example is Bt cotton in which we take the gene from bacterial species Bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis and transfer it into the plants such as corn, cotton etc.

Advantages of GM foods

Pest resistance

Farmer uses chemical pesticides in a lot of amounts which causes much fetal disease. The consumer never likes to eat such dangerous food which shows health hazard results. Excessive use of these pesticides and fertilizers causes water toxicity. By genetic engineering, GM foods grow such as B. t. (Bacillus thuringiensis) corn can help to eliminate the application of chemical pesticides. It’s a naturally occurring bacteria which cause the death of the insect larvae by producing certain types of proteins. The gene of this protein has been transferred into crop which becomes pest resistance.

Herbicide tolerance

Crop plants are genetically engendered to the herbicides which are damaging and reducing the number of crops. For example, roundup product has been genetically modified by Monsanto. 2010 study has found that roundup formulation causing metabolic disruption in leporinus obtusidens due to long term exposition. So by the production of herbicides tolerance crop, it reduces the production cost, limits the danger application of wheat killer pesticides.

Disease resistance

There are many Microorganisms like (viruses, fungi, and bacteria) that cause plant disease. By the help of genetic engineering, we are trying to create such plants which carry the gene that shows tolerance against above microorganisms.

Cold resistance

Due to the cold temperature, the yield of many crops is reduced. By using the genes from cold water fish and introduce into plants such as tobacco and potatoes. By these genes, plants become cold resistance.

Virus resistance

Due to the attack of the virus on crops production of the crops reduced. Therefore, genetically modified crops are produced by a different way to increase the production and prevent the attack of viruses. RNA-mediated gene silencing technique is used to degrade the viral RNA and inactivated the viral DNA by methylation.

Drought tolerance/salinity tolerance

By increasing the population of the world, the need for food also increases. Therefore farmer will grow more crops even in those places where the land is saline or drought. So we are trying to grow drought and saline tolerance crop plants which can withstand a long period of drought or high salt tolerant content in the soil.

Nowadays, GM Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) are produced which are drought and salinity tolerance as well as confer fast growth and chilling.

Nutrition

Malnutrition is common in the third world countries which are dependent on the single crop as rice. Only rice does not contain all types of nutritional elements (deficiency of Vitamin A). By the deficiency of the vitamin, blindness is caused which is a big problem in the 3rd world countries. If we prepare rice crop which contains additional vitamins and minerals the problem of malnutrition can be solved. Researchers at Swiss Federal Institute for plant science have a created of Golden Rice which contains high quantity of beta-carotene (vitamin A). By this way, we can solve the problem of the malnutrition in other food crops.

A human requires many micro and macronutrient elements for the activity of the body. Due to deficiency of even one nutrient will result in many diseases (sickness, poor health, immune deficiency in children). Some essential nutrients are in proteins (Histidine, Lysine, Valine, and Methionine) in lipids (Linoleic acid and Linolenic acid) in macro-elements (Na, k, Ca, Mg, S, P, and Cl) in micro-elements (Fe, Zn, Mg, As, etc. ) in vitamins (A, D, E, K, C, B1, B2, B3, Niacin, etc. ). Genetic engineering is used to improve all these nutrients in a crop.

Pharmaceutical

Vaccines are used for the prevention of many infectious diseases. There many problems in the production of the vaccine, distribution, and delivery. To solve these entire problems scientist produced such type of vaccine which is called edible vaccine. A food which containing health-giving additives called functional food. Researchers working to develop edible vaccines in the fruits like tomato and banana. These edible vaccines are easy to administer than another injectable vaccine.

Phytoremediation

Many heavy metals (Cu, Pb, and Zn) which are mainly produced by human activities cause the death of plants as well as essential microorganisms in the soil. There are many plants (alfa alfa) are naturally accruing which eliminate these heavy metals. By the help of genetic engineering, researchers are trying to design such plants which used in bioremediation (removal of contaminants by using living organisms) such as poplar tree.

Disadvantages of genetically modified organisms

GMOs Are Inherently Unsafe

There are several reasons which show that the GM plants contain unique dangers. The first is that the GM foods are prepared by alteration of genes. This can create mutations in and around the insertion site. The genetic material in soya been that make herbicide tolerant transformed into the human gut bacteria and continue the function which shows that the eating of GM crops Cause the foreign GM proteins to express inside our gut.

GM diet shows a toxic reaction in the digestive tract

The 1st crop submitted to FDA (food and drug administration) voluntary flavrSavr tomato shows evidence of toxin. Out of 20 female rats which fed GM tomato the seven developed stomach lesion. The type of stomach lesion linked to tomatoes can lead to life-endangering hemorrhage in a person who uses aspirin to prevent blood clotting.

GM diet causes liver damage

Rats that fed on GM potato had smaller and partially atrophied liver. Rats show liver lesions and other indication of toxicity when they are fed by GM corn.

GM feed animals had higher death rates and organ damage

The mice fed with roundup ready soy had produce significantly less digestive enzymes. In rats that fed with GM potato there, pancreases were enlarged. GM fed animals show lesions toxicity altered enzymes production or inflammation.

GM crops trigger an immune reaction and may cause allergies

Allergic reactions produced when any foreign particle is detected and interprets with the immune system. All the GM foods according to their definition have foreign particles that are inserted into the genome. So they provoke allergic reactions when inter the body. GM peas provoked and inflammatory response in mice showing that it may cause a deadly allergic reaction in the people. Scientist found that new protein in GM soybean was able to bind with IgE antibodies and provoked many dangerous allergic reactions. The Bt toxins produced by GM crops are showing much dangerous toxic reaction than natural verities.

Conclusion

The GM food cause beneficial as well harmful effects on the environment. But everyone somehow is using the GM food in life. It is more preferred because it is using to meet the huge population of the world with healthy and nutritional food. So it has dominated on its harmful impacts and it is used all over the world. It affects the human beings more beneficially than its harms so we try to form more GM food to increase the desired characteristics in the food by using a gene alteration mechanism. Several laws are present which allow the safe and healthy use of GM food and limit its harmful effect on the environment.

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