The Benefits and Risks of Genetically Modified Organisms

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Genetically modified organisms (GMO) are everywhere in this day in age, which is causing a lot of controversy. Some saying there are potential risk and others saying it’s a great way to protect and increase yields which cut cost.

Commercial sale of genetically modified (GM) foods began in 1994. Most GM crops include the use of pesticides. The two main chemicals used in pesticides are insecticide and Herbicide. The purpose of Insecticide is to keep the unwanted pest away, herbicide is a substance that is toxic to plants. With this, the use of pesticides is used to get rid of unwanted vegetation and/or pest. Researchers have been seeing a ten percent decrease in the use of pesticides since 1996. Since then, researchers have been able to test GMOs for any harmful reactions to the environment and to humans. For example, GMO crops are using less energy and fuel which means less c02 pollution and therefore better for the environment. This kind of biotechnology is allowing scientist to genetically modify foods to help get rid of allergies. There has been plenty of testing on GMO related products and has proven to be safe. The royal society wrote, “There is no evidence that a crop is dangerous to eat just because it is GM. There could be risks associated with the specific new gene introduced.”

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GMOs also affect the prices and the yields of crops. The production and price of biotechnology enhanced crops roughly calculate to be ten percent lower in price for soybean-based products and six percent lower for corn-based products. It’s becoming possible to use less water and fertilizer to produce the same amount of food, which saw positive results on those tests. Based on the University of Oxford studies, “Rice uses the C3 photosynthetic pathway, if rice could be ‘switched’ to use C4 photosynthesis, it could theoretically increase productivity by 50%.” Most plants are C3 plants, with no special features to combat photorespiration. While C4 plants minimize photorespiration by separating CO2 fixation and the Calvin cycle.

Although, there have been benefits, there could be negative impacts on the human body. Studies have shown that numerous health issues increased when GMO products began to increase in use in 1996. “They warn that GMOs could lead to unpredictable and hard-to-detect side effects. Some examples include novel allergies, new diseases, and nutritional deficits.” Also, in the long term, it could affect antibiotics and such, making it more difficult to get treated. Based on scientists, they are genetically modifying nut DNA to lower the risks of all nut allergies. Nonetheless, this still exists due to lower costs benefiting producers and sellers with most people purchasing them since they’re cheaper.

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