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Essay About Gmo: History and Effects

  • Subject: Science
  • Category: Genetics
  • Essay Topic: GMO
  • Pages: 3
  • Words: 1580
  • Published: 17 May 2022
  • Downloads: 69
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From corn and soybeans to even farm animals, genetically modified organisms have recently increased substantially in human diets and are glorified by the public for their many possible benefits to society. For approximately twenty years, these chemically synthesized organisms have appeared more frequently in markets, promising longer shelf lives, greater sizes, and riper colors than those of naturally grown inventory. Although these promises seem alluring, researchers have posed several questions involving the processing and selling of genetically engineered goods. GMOs present a wide area of uncertainty about the negative consequences that could possibly jeopardize human health as well as threaten the physical and economic environment. With what researchers have gained from experiments and observation of these processed foods, genetically modified organisms have the potential to be detrimental to humanity. GMOs once praised as a scientific breakthrough with a myriad of potential benefits, are now a topic of debate with potentially life-threatening consequences and should be limited in all markets. This essay about GMO discusses history and the effects of genetically modified organisms on the world.

First introduced to consumer markets in 1994, genetically modified organisms are any crop, animal, or microorganism that has been genetically modified in a laboratory, primarily to yield favorable characteristics and greater quantities. GMOs encompass a wide variety of products consumed on a daily basis. Typically, these organisms are modified in order to produce a superior product for consumers. Modern technology allows scientists to tamper with any desired trait of an organism’s genetic makeup, whether it be to make a product appear fresher, more resistant to pesticides, or even better suited to grow in environments outside of its natural habitat. Although these advantages seem promising, many consumers raise concerns over this ability to adjust to natural life. Many believe it is morally unacceptable to interfere with an organism’s genetic identity. As technology continues to improve at a rapid pace, the demands for bigger and better genetically modified organisms could grow more outrageous, leaving significant room for error and essentially threatening species with an overload of synthetical agents. Also, critics of GMOs even go so far as to suggest that researchers could use this technology to manipulate the genetic identity of humans to create a “greater” society in the future.

A growing concern among GMO critics involves the use of newer pesticides to preserve modified crops, which are usually treated with large amounts of chemicals in order to repel weeds and other pests that threaten their cultivation. However, these chemicals now prove inefficient in preventing control of weeds, as harvests have become more resistant. As a result, farmers have become overly reliant on chemical treatments, and are turning towards newer, stronger herbicides. Two specific types of these herbicides which have recently been developed to treat crops are glyphosate, an ingredient in Roundup, and 2.4-dicholorophenoxyacetic acid, a component used in the Vietnam War as a biological weapon. These two chemicals have evoked drastic changes in the environment, driving certain species that naturally preyed on weeds, such as the monarch butterfly and other pollinators, towards extinction. Furthermore, these herbicides contaminate the soil, eliminate enriching minerals, and rid the earth of beneficial bacteria that protect future crops from foreign predators.

In addition to the hazardous effects on the environment caused by the treatment of GMOs, these chemicals pose threatening concerns for human health. In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified both glyphosate and 2.4-dicholorphenoxyacetic acid as potential human carcinogens. After extensive research, data revealed a trend between rising herbicide usage and malignant tumors, including lymphoma in humans. Furthermore, visual proof now exists of the side effects wrought by GMOs when monitoring laboratory animals. For example, studies recorded by the Journal of Environmental and Analytical Toxicology observed the offspring of pigs which had been fed a diet of GMOs treated with high levels of glyphosate. The offspring displayed severe birth defects, including deformed bones and missing limbs. These new cases arising in animals counter the original conception of genetically modified organisms as solely beneficial. Studies prove that the technology behind this science has extended to the point where the condition of the planet is at stake. Researchers should heed these warning signs and cautiously monitor the processing of GMOs. It is only a matter of time until these harmful side effects begin frequently appearing in future generations as a result of current populations becoming increasingly reliant on GMOs.

As well as the potential carcinogens identified in chemicals used in the treatment of genetically modified organisms, several other trends linked to GMOs pose threats to the health of humans. A developing concern is the increased spike in food allergies observed since the introduction of these unnaturally processed goods. The drastic increase in allergies can be attributed to the fact that genetic transfers have been performed to interchange genetic material from one type of food into another. Certain foods may have completely different genes that potentially incorporate outside genetic material from food to which a consumer might be allergic. For example, in a study conducted by the New England Journal of Medicine, a group of people with severe nut allergies suffered serious reactions after consuming soybeans infused with the genetic material of a Brazilian nut. With unlimited possibilities of genetic manipulation in almost any type of food, GMOs may not only increase the number of people who suffer from food allergies but could potentially develop a number of new allergens. Human interference in the natural process of a food’s growth and development has ruined the cleanliness of an average diet and introduced a new realm of consequences, rapidly causing limitations for consumption of those suffering from food allergies.

Genetically modified organisms could also have detrimental effects to global economies. Modern corporations have seized the authority to solely produce certain GMO products with protective patents. The ability of one corporation to control the distribution of one type of food, such as corn, not only threatens food security if an error occurs but also swallows up the profits of other smaller producers, especially local farmers. With complete control over GMO seeds, local farmers are restricted in their ability to grow their own goods without corporate involvement. In particular, critics cite Monsanto, a corporation responsible for the production of 90% of genetically modified crops and which encourages the use of dangerous chemicals, including glyphosate. According to Kenneth A. Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, the “early warning system of potential GMO hazards rests entirely with the companies that stand to profit from their continued sale”. As more authority resides in these economic powerhouses to create GMOs, corporations will tend to place economic desires over consumer needs. Monsanto will continue advocating for damaging herbicides used to treat genetically modified organisms as long as the markets continue demanding these crops. The selfish nature of corporations, blinded by economic incentives, will jeopardize public health as long as GMOs are continually allowed to evolve free from limitation without regulation.

Besides corporations that push GMOs in order to attract customers for their product lines, other supporters of genetically modified organisms argue for their promised benefits to scientific research. Some scientists claim GMOs are essential to curing chronic illnesses, including diabetes and Lymes Disease. Although these genetically modified organisms do promise advantages in the medical field, it is too early to discern whether they will be free from limitations. Researchers are only on the tip of the iceberg when it comes down to the understanding of these complications stemming from this brand new realm of technological advancement. Just recently, a new study conducted in 2018 by the Journal of the American Medical Association for Internal Medicine found an overwhelming 25% decrease in the risks of all types of cancer in a test group that eliminated GMO foods from their diets for five years. With drastic results surfacing in similar studies, it will not be long until other harmful side effects will be discovered.

After writing the essay anout GMO, I can conclude that genetically modified organisms have and will continue to have drastic effects on society. The ability to produce or design an organism with any desired trait grants corruption to powerful businesses as well as serves as a serious threat to the natural environment and even human health. Introduced to the markets fairly recently, researchers are very uncertain about the side effects of these synthesized organisms. Although some may say GMOs have resulted in more positive than negative consequences, GMOs have not existed long enough to uncover known side effects. They must be kept to a minimum in human diets in order to preserve public health. The success of technology behind genetically modified must be weighed against its potential threats to mankind and the environment.

Works Cited

  1. Gale, Richard, and Gary Null. “Food Fascists: GMO and Pesticide Manufacturers Down and Dirty.” Townsend Letter, no. 378, Jan. 2015, pp. 75–81. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspxdirect=true&AuthType=cookie,geo,url,ip&geocustid=s8 475741&db=awh&AN=10961657&site=eds-live&scope=site. Accessed 2 December 2019.
  2. Huso, Deborah R., and Jessica Kellner. “Know More About GMOs.” Mother Earth Living, vol. 2, no. 6, Sept. 2014, pp. 74–77. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx.?direct=true&AuthType=cookie,geo,url,ip&geocustid=s8475741&db=h4h&AN=97756745&site=eds-live&scope=site. Accessed 2 December 2019.
  3. Landrigan, Philip J., and Charles Benbrook. “GMOs, Herbicides, and Public Health.” New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 373, no. 8, Aug. 2015, pp. 693–695. EBSCOhost, doi: 10.1056/NEJMp1505660. Accessed 2 December 2019.
  4. Rohland, Lindsay. “Genetically Modified Organisms.” Genetically Modified Organisms: GMOs (ELL),Apr. 2016, p. 1. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType==cookie,geo,url,ip&geocustid=s8475741&db=elr&AN=114488523&site=eds-live&scope=site. Accessed 10 December 2019.
  5. “Should You Worry About GMOs?” Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter, vol. 31, no. 9, Nov. 2013, pp. 4–5. EBSCOhost, search.ebsc ohost.com /login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=cookie,geo,url,ip&geocustrid=s8475741&db=crh&AN=91811637&site= eds-live&scope=site. Accessed 15 December 2019.
  6. Smith, Melissa Diane. “The Health Benefits of Going Organic: Removing GMOs and Pesticides from Your Diet Can Seriously Reduce Your Body’s Toxic Burden.” Better Nutrition, no. 4, 2019, p. 40. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=cookie,geo,url,ip&geocustid=s8475741&db=edsgih&AN=edsgcl.581310401&site=eds-live&scope=site. Accessed 15 December 2019.

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The Reality of Genetically Modified Organisms: Positive and Negative Consequences. (2022, May 17). GradesFixer. Retrieved August 15, 2022, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-reality-of-genetically-modified-organisms-positive-and-negative-consequences/
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