Genetically Modified Organisms And Human Health

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GMOs and Human Health

INTRODUCTION: The purpose of this paper is to discuss whether or not genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are unhealthy to humans, using the most reliable current evidence available to explore both sides of the topic. This paper will discuss the history of GMOs, their various applications, and discuss the major points concerning the impact of GMOs on human health.

DEFINING "GMO" To properly discuss the effects of GMO, it is firstly important to define what does and does not constitute a GMO. Brooker defines a GMO as an organism that has received genetic material via recombinant DNA technology. This process results in a transgenic organism (528). The World Health Organization (WHO) adopts a broader definition
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preferentially saving seeds, moving crops from their natural habitats, etc.) (Gibney 16, Brooker 542). Ancient texts give instruction on the selective breeding of animals for various purposes (Lush 21). In these senses, most commercially-produced foods and many of the non-commercial foods we eat have been genetically influenced by humans in ways that were not naturally occurring to the organisms through the process of natural selection. From domesticated dog breeds to livestock to modern corn, humans have shaped genotypic and phenotypic characteristics. Gregor Mendel 's mid-1800s inheritance experiments demonstrated that many traits could be bred for in a logical and controllable fashion. Beginning in 1927, radiation and chemicals were used to induce mutations in plants. Although most seeds are inactivated, some grew and exhibited favorable traits such as weather resistance and increased yields. Today, over 2,200 such mutant species are in wide-circulation, including barley (Golden Promise), cotton, rapeseed, and rice (Basmati) (Gibney 19). In the 1970s, Stanley and Boyer became the first to genetically engineer an organism by inserting a vector for antibiotic resistance into a bacterium. Similar processes became known as genetic engineering, a branch of biotechnology. In 1982, within a decade later, the United States Food and
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