Genetically Modified Organisms
Both sides of the GMO story
What are GMOs? How do they affect me?
GMOs are genetically modified organisms, meaning that someone has changed the very DNA of a plant or animal to get a specific result. GMOs may seem to be far away from you personally, but they aren't. Many approved GMO plants are available in stores as food. Others are sold as houseplants or decoration. Either way GMOs do affect you, and that's just the plants. What about the animals?
We've all heard about tests done on mice and other animals similar to humans to find out if a product is dangerous. But haven't you ever wondered about why those tests work? After all, similar leaves a lot of room for the failure of a safe item or the success of a dangerous product. Well, we don't have to wonder anymore. GMO animals that are modified to have human characteristics are used in those tests. Any GMO that is altered to have parts of the DNA of an entirely different species is called a transgenic animal or a transgenic plant. In some cases, plants have had animal genes added or animals have had plant genes added. Can you imagine?
Food and Vaccines
Could they be combined?
How do you know if your food is GMO or not?
My doctor tells me to stop eating so much genetically modified food. He says I've developed this ugly growth on my back.
Controversies Around GMOs
The main argument about GMOs is this. Do we have the right to play God? Everyone, whether Creationist or Evolutionist, agrees that organisms have been evolving naturally for at least thousands of years, if not billions. The difference between natural evolution and genetic modification is that GMOs have parts of several species that would not evolve into one organism. So, since GMOs are morally and religiously suspect, some people make the decision not to eat or use GMOs.
How Do You Recognize a GMO?
In most cases you can't, in others the differences are obvious. For example, salmon GMOs have been altered to be almost three times as big and to mature faster as well. On the other hand, plant GMOs often look the exact same as normal plants, in color, size, and growing seasons. You don't have to worry though, there are federal and international regulations that require GMOs to be labeled so that you know what you're buying.
Could We Combine Food and Medicine Using GMOs?
It's possible. Tests are being done currently to test the safety of a plant-and-bacteria mix that will be nutritious and provide a vaccine for many common diseases at the same time. Africa in particular would benefit as food and medicine are both in short supply. Thousands of lives could be saved by using this one GMO.
What Are the Dangers of Eating GMOs?
Sometimes, very rarely, a GMO can "jump" to an entirely different species. This is called a horizontal jump. Vertical jumps are when a GMO passes it's mutation to others of it's own species. Jumps are dangerous, but GMOs are tested thoroughly before released to the public to ensure that jumps don't happen. A GMO can jump when it's eaten, or when it comes in contact with it's own species.
What Can We Do With GMOs?
More and more farms have been sold to be developed. Our oceans are being polluted. Our population is growing. Food prices are going up. Guess what? Earth doesn't have the capacity to feed all of us. With GMOs we can get more food, sooner, and from less space. Just remember that there are two sides to every story.
What I rate my article and who I recommend it for
A definite ten. It was informative and interesting, but I could understand it. I would recommend it for anyone interested in genetics or farming.