Why Do We Use GMO Food Today?
If you have heard about the controversy surrounding GMO food, you might wonder what this actually means. It is an acronym for genetically modified food that is sold in stores all over the world. For example, the DNA of the seeds that are planted in the ground can be genetically modified in a laboratory. They can actually put in the DNA from other plants and organisms into these seeds, creating a completely new seed that has never existed before. This can be done with plants, microorganisms, and even animals, and it is possible because of modern science. There are reasons that this is done, some of which are good, whereas others are very questionable. Here is a quick overview of what GMO food actually is and some concerns that people have with food that is genetically modified.
What Exactly Is GMO Food?
GMO is an acronym which stands for organism that has been genetically modified. It is an organism which has been brought to laboratory to have its DNA changed. The modification to the DNA is typically the result of adding DNA from animals, viruses, plants and even bacterium. An example that is often given is the DNA for a spider, specifically that which is related to producing silk, could actually be added to a goat. Although this sounds like science fiction, it is a reality, and we are experiencing this every day with food that we purchase at the supermarket.
Examples Of GMO Food
There are many examples of GMO food that is produced and sold today. For example, the scientists that do this, individuals called geneticists, have actually altered the DNA of pigs to make them glow. They have inserted the DNA from bioluminescent jellyfish into the DNA of the pig, causing the pig to literally glow-in-the-dark. Another example of this is the addition of DNA from a winter flounder, a cold water fish, into the DNA of tomatoes. As a result of doing this, this can actually prevent tomatoes from freezing or being affected by frost. Though this sounds very strange, or even outrageous, this is being done to food that we consume. There are many scientists that have stated there can be significant risks associated with modifying plants and animals in this way.
Potential Dangers Of GMO Food
The dangers that many scientists have stated over the years involves how these genetic mutations could actually affect the DNA of the people that consume the food. 90% or more of the corn, canola, sugar beets and soybeans that we consume today has been genetically engineered. If this has the potential for altering our own DNA, why would scientists do this?
Why We Use GMO Food Today
The reason that geneticists are allowed to modify some of the food that we eat is all in the name of production. They are trying to find ways of making it easier to grow food that is resistant to environmental effects that can cause the plants and animals to die. For example, one of the main alterations is altering the DNA of crops that are grown so that they can resist herbicide contamination. We are constantly spraying our crops to prevent unwanted plants such as weeds from growing adjacent to the crops. We spray herbicides to prevent this, and by altering the DNA of the crops at the seed level, the herbicides will not adversely affect the crops that are sprayed.
Now that you understand what GMO foods are, and how scientists are altering the very food that we eat every day, it might be cause for concern. When you alter DNA in the plant, there is always the possibility that these changes could have adverse effects. However, until we are able to find a way of more easily preventing the growth of weeds, and also eliminating insects that can be destructive for our crops, GMO foods will continue to be manufactured to keep production levels as high as possible.