Genetic Modification(GM) is a special branch of gene technology. It alters the genetic machinery of living organisms like animals, plants and microorganisms. Combining the genes of various organisms is called recombinant DNA technology. The resulting organism is called Genetically Modified.
The main genetically modified crops which are grown in the field commercially are resistant to herbicides and pesticides. These include soybeans, corn, cotton and many more. Other instances include a sweet potato that is grown resistant to an infectious virus typical to Africa. We also have rice that has increased iron and vitamins to alleviate chronic malnutrition in Asian countries.
The concept of genetically modified foods is yet to be worked on by scientists. Currently, genetically modified food is limited to plant products like fruits and vegetables. Let’s find out the pros and cons of consuming GM foods.
The pros of Genetically Modified foods
The increased benefits of GM foods attract more customers. A potato that will not turn brown when left over will be preferred over the normal one. When it comes to food, everyone opts for the one which tastes better. In this case, GM foods will be preferred over unmodified ones. They will have a longer shelf life and lead to less food wastage.
Another prime reason is its resistance to viruses and diseases. These crops for food will be resistant to herbicides and pesticides. Which will increase food security along with allowing farmers to control weeds.
Furthermore, these might also be genetically altered to be resistant to harsh weather and soil conditions.
The cons of Genetically Modified foods
The concept of GM is new. Hence the long-term effects are not clear yet. However, the risks include allergies. Some genetically modified crops and foods might cause allergic reactions in some people. Some have raised concerns which say that GM foods can be carcinogenic and cause cancer. Food DNA can survive in the human gut and even cause changes in the Human DNA and reduce our resistance to bacteria.
All these health concerns question our consumption of Genetically Modified foods.