What is genetically modified organisms gmo?

Have you ever tasted a strawberry that was unnaturally big and had no taste at all? Or have you ever heard of broccoli being used to treat cancer? If your answer to both questions is yes, then congratulations! You have just entered the world of genetically modified organisms, better known as GMOs.

The Basics

Before we delve into the details about GMOs, let us first understand what they are. A genetically modified organism is an organism whose genome has been altered by genetic engineering techniques (don’t worry if this term sounds daunting). In simpler terms, scientists go into a lab and tweak genes to make plants or animals do things they wouldn’t normally be able to do naturally.

Nowadays, GMOs can be found in most food products available on grocery store shelves. Common examples include corn, soybeans, sugar cane, and even salmon! Keep reading for more information on how these products came about.

A Brief History

The idea of modifying living things through genes might seem like a novel concept but it’s actually not new. Humans have been selectively breeding animals and plants for thousands of years now based on certain desirable traits – doing so helped produce domesticated dogs from wolves/farmable crops etc., pretty much anything that made our lives easier! However selective breeding could only take us so far in terms of producing higher yielding crop/livestock varieties etc., which meant finding ways around plant diseases/pest infestation that caused farmers huge economic loss!

Genetic modification really kicked off after James Watson & Francis Crick described DNA structure back during 1953 with the advent of recombinant DNA technology shortly thereafter leading to cloning of exceptionally important genes alongwith advancements in genome sequencing technology/expertise facilitating manipulation thereof!

Throughout time numerous applications pertaining use in agriculture such as resistance against pests/disease/adaptability hence vital protection against damage triggered by global climate change by producing drought resistant crops/livestock that survive in the new environment. These techniques have also been used for medical purposes such as facilitating efficient disease diagnosis,treatment & prevention, how cool is that? All in all, genetic modification has revolutionized aspects of our lives beyond expectation!

Pros and Cons

As with any technological advancement, there are advantages and disadvantages to GMOs.

The Pros:

  • Crop Protection: Genetic modifications can help plants resist pests/disease attacks which would help crops yield more consistently resulting in farmers being able to produce better cash crops leading therefore increased economic growth.
  • Improved Nutritional Content: Nutrient content within beverages/food products usually affected negatively during preparation stages hence genetically modified crop utilizing additional copy of nutrient vitamin could lead a way forward!
  • Huge Environmental Gains: Plant diseases generally spread if left uncontrolled and cause harmful economic effects to farmers thus genetically modified plants tend to receive fewer chemical sprays/weed killers while still increasing their overall productivity thanks to integrated pest management systems being implemented instead of chemical-based solution only makes great environmental/economic sense nowadays.

The Cons:

  • Possible Health Risk/Migration studies ongoing due the use chemicals/social factors/genetic mutants from some studies so It’s understandable why many people may be concerned about consuming GM food or consuming livestock fed on GM feedstuffs
  • Much likened growing critique around cross-contamination between conventional & GM seeds suggesting mutation can occur between crops resulting land-use conflicts when organic farms grow next door(GM contamination)

All arguments aside, more research needs carrying out regarding this subject/its implications etc., So we won’t know truly until then!

Common Misconceptions

There are numerous common misconceptions surrounding GMOs due influence other medias. Here are four beliefs we’ve heard circulating –

  1. Consuming Genetically Modified Food Causes Cancer – Okay cue sensationalist clickbait news headlines!. There isn’t any concrete evidence to suggest consuming GMOs increases risks cancer in humans. In fact, the American Cancer Society states: “There is no evidence that [GMO] foods cause harm.”

  2. They Are Less Nutritious Than Non-GMO Foods – Quite the opposite. Scientific data has shown Genetically Modified produce can actually be more nutritious than their non-Genetically Modified counterparts, as highlighted above.

  3. All Farmers Grow GMO Crops For Economic purposes! This couldn’t be further from truth/actual demographic being small farmers opting against genetically modified crops owing either technical/human resource constraints or ethical reasons even financial investment tend losing out due human lawsuits/market fluctuation!

  4. GMO’s Cause Environmental Problems -This myth partly stemmed from highly informed academics & activists printing articles on Seed Patenting i.e., farming on a large scale seems giving corporations an upper hand, resulting small farmer communities collapsing economically/socially due monopolies they felt responsible for creating.

The Bottom Line

At this point in reading you must have learnt few things about genetically modification otherwise known as GM; its past/prevalence/various benefits/reasons why people get alarmed when consumption mandated especially with phrasing such as ‘Frankenfood’ but controversies aside ultimately it stems down to few everyday questions : Is there enough scientific research conducted today ? Or are we just communicating alarmist myths based around contorted facts?

It’s up to us completely worldwide folks demanding transparency/accountability alongwith Long-term studies further introduced regulations for healthy/safe production and dispensation of these products effectively tackling misconceptions/myths surrounding one hottest topics making rounds currently all within our combined quest aiming productive communication/segregated fact-checking!

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