Genetically Modified Food - Pros & Cons

2979 WordsMay 3, 201212 Pages
April 2012 Genetically Modified Food: World Wide Panacea or “Frankenfood” to Fear? Never before in history has mankind so masterfully commanded its food chain. Thousands of years ago, much of our species made the leap from a hunter-gatherer level of subsistence to an agricultural society. With agriculture, slowly but surely many modifications were made to plants and animals used and domesticated by us for the purpose of feeding ourselves. New specialized varieties with specific desirable traits slowly emerged; with the advent of knowledge of hybridization, this process was greatly expedited. By today, much has changed in the way we shape the foods we put into our bodies. With modern food science has come the dawn of genetic…show more content…
Researchers at Harvard University, for example, have recently “added a few genes to [E. coli’s] solitary circular chromosome, coaxing the organism to produce lycopene” (“Bacteria into Biotech Factories”). In bacteria, this process allows for useful and vital products like insulin to be produced much more easily, and at lower costs. Likewise, genetic engineering of plants can be used to increase the concentration of beneficial botanical compounds used in medicine and health supplements. Although certainly not without risk, GMO technology has been around for almost two decades now, and has had much fewer negative implications on human beings than, for instance, newly developed cancer treatments. Yet trial and error for cancer treatment does not get the negative publicity that the genetic modification of plants does, despite the fact that both aim at improving health for people who are otherwise very sick (be it cancer or starvation). In the United States, where opposition to “frankenfood” has steadily grown over the past decade, many scientists fear public suspicion regarding genetically engineered foods (within the country and abroad) could derail further research and development of them. Skeptical public sentiment may hinder the advancement of such crops that could potentially improve nutrition and overall health in regions—such as famished Sub-Saharan Africa—that could desperately use it. In addition to solving the
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