12. Is GMO an option for food security 10 Most Dynamic Business Leaders in Healthcare and Lifescience Industry 2022

Genetically modified organism (GMO) means the modification in the laboratory. It includes a range of organisms from insects to large animals and plants. GMOs produce for more commercial benefits. Common examples of GMOs are corn, cotton, soya etc.

Breeding selects a species to generate offspring with desirable qualities that have long use in conventional livestock production, crop farming, and even pet breeding. In genetic modification, recombinant genetic technologies are used to create organisms with genomes. It has precisely altered at the molecular level, typically by the inclusion of genes from unrelated species of organisms that code for traits. It would not easy to obtain through conventional selective breeding.

How is it done?

Recombinant DNA technology and reproductive cloning are used in the production of genetically modified organisms. In genetic modification, the genome is engineered with the gene of interest in the laboratory.

Recombinant DNA technology involves the insertion of individual gene/s from an organism of one species into the DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) of another. And in reproductive cloning, a nucleus is removed from a cell of the individual to be cloned. Then it is inserted into the enucleated cytoplasm of a host egg (an enucleated egg is an egg cell that has had its nucleus removed). It results in the generation of genetically identical offspring to the donor individual.

Controversy

The GMO product controversy remains the same state. Special the environmental and natural living groups deny the GMOS. Their opinion is that the genetic modification may affect human health in unpredictable ways. And the long-term effects of GMOs are another concern. On the other hand, most of the research shows there is no adverse impact of GMOs.

Importance of GMO

Some benefits of GMOs are as follows:

  • The production of crops on large scale is possible.
  • The GM crops are disease resistant
  • It can be rich in nutrients.
  • The production process is speedy

Benefits of GMOs

Some healthy benefits pose by GMOs are as follows:

  • Healthy food

GMOs are produces a higher yield, nutrient rich food, disease resistant. So it can give more healthy food to the consumer. The people living in poverty or who can not access nutritious food can easily consume healthy food through genetically modified plants.

  • Reduce the passage of harmful chemicals

Disease-resistant crop reduces the use of chemical fertilizers on farms. Ultimately it helps to reduce the passage of harmful chemicals in the human body and the environment.

  • Environmental benefits

GMO crop reduces some farm activity like the use of fertilizers, and soil tilling which further benefits the environment.

GMO and Environment

Genetically modified crops have both positive as well as negative impacts on the environment.

  • Negative impact
  • It reduces the biodiversity of insects and GMOs are insect resistant
  • Unexpected impact on other plants and animals
  • It can induce more weed
  • Transmission of the modified gene into native species.

The impact of each modified crop is different. So thorough research is important.

  • Positive impact

The genetically modified crop may reduce the use of harmful chemicals like fertilizers and pesticides that pollute the environment.

Example of GMO

The examples of GMOs countrywide give below:

  • USA – Cotton, Alfalfa, Canola, Maize, Papaya, Soybean, Sugar beet
  • South Africa- Cotton, Maize, Soybean
  • China- Cotton, Papaya, Poplar, Sweet pepper, Tomato
  • Canada- Canola, Maize, Papaya, Soybean, Sugar beet
  • Mexico- Cotton, Soybean
  • Myanmar- Cotton
  • Argentina -Cotton, Maize, Soybean
  • Brazil- Cotton, Maize, Soybean
  • Australia- Canola, Carnation, Cotton
  • India – Cotton

Threat of GMO

There is some concern about GMOs.

  • The toxin in Plants

Some plants have a little number of toxins. GMO plants may have different balances of toxins which may lead to disease in humans. Specific concerns for cancer and infertility. But the research in this field is very limiting.

  • Environmental Harm

If GMOs alter the way of another organism, they can cause environmental damage. Environmental damage further leads to climate change, food shortage and threat to native species, etc.

  • Lack of research

There is limited research done in this field. Most of the research did up on the short or medium-term impact of the GMOs. Long-term effects of GMOs are still unfocused.

Final thought

GMOs technology is at the middle- stage of development. The log-term impact of GMOs has to be study before its use. After getting full proof report of GMOs one can decide whether it is a good solution to food security or not. Till then it remains the question.

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