The genetic material in genetically modified organisms is altered through recombinant DNA technology. The process takes place in vitro, whereby a pool of DNA molecules is established from different sources to create a single gene. The DNA from the newly formed gene is administered to an organism and it is expected to express the modified traits. Genetically modification is applied in both crops and organisms. The process is of great benefits in health, crop production, and animal hybridization. In crops, the technology has enabled the development of crops resistant to drought, insects, and frost. Crops with higher nutrition and productivity are also developed through technology. Animals with higher production and adaptations are developed through technology. Increased production of both crops and animals is participating in meeting the increasing population and human needs. However, there are many critics of the process. They argue and consider genetic modification, and the modified organisms to cause health risks especially to human beings (Anderson and Lee 2005, pp. 405).
Arguments from the Article
According to Bolt’s article on ‘they’re trying to scare you, some critics argue that genetically modified crops can kill people who consume, or come in contact with them. They argue that genetically modified food are not safe for consumption, claiming to have about sixty five healthy risks to consumer, and they constitute, thousands of toxins, or can induce allergic reaction to consumers. Genetically modified corn, has a gene from corn snacks, which can turn human intestinal flora into poison factories. Those people who oppose genetic modification of crops do not care about science. They fail to understand that genetically modified crops are being developed and the number of crops being modified, and the countries being involved in modification are increasing at a high rate (Morgan 2003). Scientists have no proof of the bad things of genetically modified crops, a factor which has made the Federal Gene Technology Regulatory, gave a go ahead to genetically modified canola for the past six years, the the reason why the Dr. Peacock, the Australian chief scientists does not only recommend genetically modified crops as safe crops, but also essential in future. The safety in consuming genetically modified, crops has been given by several organizations. The Food Standards Australia New Zealand has approved selling and used of genetically modified crops, and no case of harm has been reported yet. The World Health Organization has recommended risk assessment of the crops, after the crop has been proved to to have no risk to human health, the crop can be availed in international market. People in countries which have been purchasing and consuming the crops from the market have not reported any effect or harm to their health. Although the Labor government banned genetically modified crops no evidence was given to scientifically prove the ban was as a result of crops’ unsafety (Bolt 2007).
Activists and critics like Smith have written books for the sake of making a profit. They write a lot on how genetically modified crops can poison the population. They include superstitions on green plants to discourage the readers from consuming the plants and motivate them to continue buying their books increasing their income (Bolt 2007). Such readers are guided by their prejudices against science and modernity, and they generally classify scientists to have the worst for their life. They fail to understand the costs associated with cultivating ordinary crops. Apart from the dietary benefit of the crops, the crops are also economically good. When farmers use ordinary crops, they are required to use large amounts of herbicides if they expect to reap from the crops. Without the consistent use of herbicides and insecticides, the ordinary crops produce are low. Trangenic plants -plants developed from gene modification are resistant to weeds, pests, horses, or changes in environmental changes. Such plants have improved shelf life, and are of greater nutritional value compared to unmodified crops. Genetically modified crops have benefits to both consumers and industries as they are reliable, easy to cultivate, and have fewer expenses and cultivation time (Donnellan 2004).
According to Bolt, critics have worked hard to develop panic among people. Smith – vice president of genetic identification used lab tests to trace genetically modified crops. Many activists have also been using the same methods to claim and argue that the crops do not give long-term benefits to the consumers. They argue that genetic modification has short-term fixes with a lot of side effects that are capable of demanding consumers. Scientific methods show no side effect genetic engineering, rather they show the process to have life-supporting solutions. For example, through genetic engineering, crops are capable of increasing their production to sustain lives even during the dry seasons. Genetically modified crops can hold water for a longer time and grow fast meaning that even in short rain, the plant can grow and produce to sustain lives in the dry spell where the unmodified crops would have dried up (Bolt 2007).
Politicians against genetically modified plants used research study carried out by a Russian scientist as evidence to prove that genetically modified crops have side effects and have both health and fatal risks to human beings. The Russian scientists feed rats on genetically modified soybeans. According to the report of the research, the study results showed that the rats gave birth to infertile runt pups. The study from the research can not be considered to have scientifically accurate information. For any animal to be used in tests or research, the animal should be reared in the laboratory where it can be controlled and managed. The feeds and water given require to be controlled and monitored. Otherwise, how can the report or study prove that the rats did not get feeds from elsewhere? The scientist might have fed the rats with the crops, but without controlling the rats, they can get other feeds, eat without the notice to the researcher, leaving the complaints to the genetically modified crops. Unless more information is given regarding how they are managed, it is difficult to conclude that the crops were the sole cause of the status of rat’s young ones. After all, the study has never been put in peer review, and there have been no other similar or related complaints. On the other hand, when animals are reared in the laboratory, it is easy to tell the amount of feed given to the rats or other animals. With this, the researcher can tell when the animals are underfed, when fed well, or when overfed. According to the report on the article, emphasis is on the feeding of the rats with genetically modified crops, leaving information on the amount of the crop taken. How can we be sure to agree the rats died because of feeding on the crop and not underfeeding or overfeeding. To agree with the argument a record of the daily amount and type of feed to individual rats need to be provided, to support that the rats were fed with the right amount.
Benefits and Dangers of Genetic modification
Apart from the earlier given advantages of genetic modification, the method has other benefits for the environment, animals, and the entire society. This has made people in many countries use genetic engineering as an alternative to the natural way of cultivating crops and rearing animals. The technology has few limitations. It has a potential impact on human health, has made the developing countries that are not capable f using technology depend on the developed countries which can effectively use the technology. When modifying genes is is difficult to locate genes with important and appropriate genes (Smiley 2005). For, example it is difficult to determine crop genes that are resistant to insects, or the ones with more nutrients. However, through genome sequencing and th many discoveries on various types of organisms, maps and data analyzing technologies are being used to acquire and understand the genes.
The research violated the intrinsic values of rats. Research on animals and plants interferes with nature as it is involved with mixing genes among many species, causes stress to animals and plants as they struggle to bear with the newly introduced genes (Huang et al. 2005, pp. 689).
The regular reports made on media concerning scientific research are usually inaccurate and sensationalized. People tend to believe in everything given, without the need for further analysis an4s evidence. The failure to understand that every issue has opposer and propers each with a reason for the stand. If one wants to make money, from the issue, opposing becomes the choice. Every technology has advantages and disadvantages which need to be analyzed before a conclusion is drawn.
Anderson, K. and Lee, J. 2005, ‘Implications of GM food technology policies for Sub-Saharan Africa.’ African Economies, vol. 14, no, 3, pp 398-410.
Bolt A. 2007, ‘They’re trying to scare you’, Courier Mail [On line] Web.
Donnellan, C. 2004, Genetic modification, Independence Educational, New York.
Huang, J., Ruifa H., Scott R., and Carl P. 2005, ‘Insect-Resistant GM,’ Science, vol. 308. no. 5722, pp. 688 – 690.
Morgan S. 2003, Genetic modification of foods, Heinemann, New York.
Smiley, S. 2005, Genetic modification, Independence Educational, New York.