Are GMO Foods Really Bad For Health?
Today let us discuss a highly controversial topic – Are GMO foods bad for health? In spite of all the debate going around, GMOs (Genetically modified foods) are found in all kinds of food products without any mention in the outer labels. So, let us delve in deeper to find out the science behind these foods.
What exactly is Genetically Modified (GMO) Food?
GMO is an abbreviation for “genetically modified organism.” The term is usually used for foods that have had their genes changed with the help of biotechnology.
With genetic modification, scientists are able to produce plants with specific qualities such as being more resistant to pesticides or viruses.
You may want to know what genes are and what is meant by genetics. Well, here you go! Genetics is a study of genes and heredity. Genes have the instructions about the way living organisms should be made. The instructions are codes that consist of DNA that is found inside cells.
Genes are inherited from ancestors and this is why we look like our mom and dad! But genes are not stable and they change. This is why every individual has unique physical features. Genes vary slightly between individuals of the same species too.
Evolution is a long story but I will keep it as short as I can! You see it is the changes that take place in an organism over several generations. It is a very slow process and depends on adaptations made to certain environmental conditions.
For instance consider a plant that lives in wet conditions. Over thousands of years, when the climate changes from wet to dry. Some plants are able to tolerate the dry conditions better than other plants because of individual variability. The plants that can’t tolerate the drought die and you are left with a plant population that has adapted living in dry conditions.
In short, it is survival of the fittest. The genes that are most suitable for survival in the environment are passed on to the generation ahead.
By selective breeding we have been able to get apples bigger and make cows give more milk. It is all about choosing beings with the desired features and breeding them together.
The process is faster and more precise with genetic modification.
Genetic modification refers to a technique that alters an organism’s genetic material. You can make plants resistant to disease, increase their nutritional value, change the taste and what not!
Examples of genetically modified foods
- Herbicide-resistant corn and soybeans
- Virus-resistant papaya
- Golden rice
GMO food is pretty common these days
Though GMOs are something quite common, it is difficult to estimate the exact amount of GMOs you are eating. This is so because foods aren’t always labeled as GMO. There are fewer GMO foods in the European market when compared to the US. Soy products are most likely to come from GMO crops.
The GMO debate!
GMO food is a highly controversial topic! There are many unanswered questions related to the same. Where some scientists are concerned about the impact on the environment as well as sustainability, there are people who feel that genetic modification can offer environmental benefits. To some it is unhealthy and to others, a way to prevent food shortages.
Are GMO foods really bad for health?
You can’t generalize GMO foods as healthy or unhealthy. People are pointing out many things but they need to looked upon as a case-by-case basis. Till date there isn’t any evidence stating that GMOs are harmful to humans, however, GMOs are facing a lot of public opposition.
There is on loop hole however. Animal studies show that when herbicide-resistant crops are sprayed with glyphosate can cause adverse health effects.
So, the debate is still on! Wonder when it will subside!
Hope you found this post useful!
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