24 Main GMO Foods Pros And Cons

GMO stands for genetically modified organism, that is, any organism whose DNA has been modified with the help of genetic engineering. Genetic modification is also done on plants and animals, for many reasons — to increase durability, strengthen immunity, enhance taste, etc. There are certain foods that are modified to stand as substitutes for more exotic or endangered plants and crops.

There are many communities, both scientific and non-scientific, where GMO foods are a hot topic of debate. There are purportedly many ill effects of GMO foods on the human body. We will examine the benefits and drawbacks of GMO foods.

BENEFITS OF GMO FOODDRAWBACKS OF GMO FOOD
Increased resistance of crops to common ailmentsThe WHO discourages the use of GMO foods because it could elicit an allergic reaction
Genetic engineering enhances and/ or improves tasteGMO foods can contain modification that could affect human genes
Increases durability of cropsThe mutation caused by GMO foods can lead to fickle or unstable changes
Stronger immunity means less use of pesticides and resources
Vegetables have a longer shelf life 
Beneficent and profitable traits are introduced via genetic modification
GMO crops grow very fast and can feed the ever-growing population
Better quality as well as higher quantity of food

ADVANTAGES OF GMO FOODS:

  • Increased resistance of crops to common ailments.

Genetically modified foods have proven to be more hardy and resistant to common ailments that besiege their traditional counterparts. Diseases like crown gall and bacterial wilt do not affect GMO plants as much. These plants have been strengthened considerably , and can combat many illnesses. This makes GMO foods a profitable venture for farmers and governments.

  • Genetic engineering enhances and/ or improves taste.

Modification of plant genes has led to a marked improvement in the taste of vegetables. Those with sensitive palates have reported that they can differentiate between GMO vegetables and traditionally grown crops based on the taste alone.  Many subtle flavours are brought to the forefront, and are given more attention.

  • Increases durability of crops.

 GMO crops have been given genes that have allowed them to combat virulent diseases, and have considerably increased their durability. Now, GMO crops do not wilt easily under heavy rains, nor do they dry up as fast in prolonged drought as traditionally grown crops. This [provides farmers some relief that their crops will not fail if the weather is very brutal. 

  • Stronger immunity means less use of pesticides and resources. 

Since genetic modification ensures that vegetables are more robust than their traditional counterpart, finances that are allocated to their survival can be saved. Pesticides that are used to spray on the crops to alleviate pests from wreaking havoc on the plants become redundant for GMO crops — for example, cotton crops that have been genetically modified are able to fight off weevils on their own. GMO foods do not require as much water for irrigation as other crops.

  • Vegetables have a longer shelf life. 

It has been proven that GMO foods have a longer shelf life, and do not spoil as easily as traditional food crops. If GMO vegetables are kept in the freezer or out in the open for long periods, they will not rot away as quickly as you would expect. Unripe fruits and veggies take more time to ripen than their counterparts.

  • Beneficent and profitable traits are introduced via genetic modification.

Genetic modifications can occur when a particular plant that lacks certain qualities is injected with those elements which are taken from an organism, which could be bacteria or very small organisms that possess those qualities. This method is called transgenic modification as it allows a particular “gene of interest” to be transplanted onto another cell. In this way, desirable qualities are transplanted onto crops to make them more profitable.

  • GMO crops grow very fast and can feed the ever-growing population. 

One of the most important benefits of genetically modified crops is that these tenacious plants grow very quickly. This means that with the global population increasing by the hour, the means to feed everybody is something that can be achieved. The future generations dependent on GMO foods will likely not die out due to want of food.

  • Better quality as well as higher quantity of food. 

Genetically modified foods seem to be the future of viable crops and food because the modifications have ensured stronger traits and higher quality in foods. The quick harvest period makes it more favorable as a venture, since this ensures that the masses can be fed with foods that take a relatively shorter time to grow.  

DISADVANTAGES OF GMO FOODS:

  • The WHO discourages the use of GMO foods because it could elicit an allergic reaction.

 The main reason why many discourage the use of GMO foods is that genetically modified crops have a component that elicits an allergic response in some people. The World Health Organisation dissuades people from consuming GMO foods because of this allergy reaction and the severe effects it can cause.

  • GMO foods can contain modification that could affect human genes. 

There have been studies that have reported a link between the consumption of genetically modified foods and the rise in certain types of cancers. Many scientists have predicted that long term exposure to  genetically modified foods could have terrible detrimental effects on human health as well as natural ecology.

  • The mutation caused by GMO foods can lead to fickle or unstable changes. 

The art of gene modification is still an imprecise science. While the main focus of genetic modification lies in the introduction of desirable traits in crops, some toxic and allergic traits can also be introduced into the DNA of the crop system, thereby creating vegetables that could adversely impact people’s health.

The discussion around Genetically Modified Foods is one that needs to be heavily debated upon, both for health and scientific reasons, as well as for ethical ones. The question is, how long can we play God with nature, until it becomes unsafe for all? The answer remains to be seen.

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