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The whole truth about GMOs.
What does GMO mean?
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are plants or animals whose genetic material (DNA) has been modified in a way that is impossible in natural conditions, either as a result of mating or as a result of natural recombination. It is also known as genetic technology or genetic engineering.
The first GMO products became available in the 1990s.
GMOs are a huge achievement in science that literally allows researchers to select individual genes to transfer from one organism to another, even between species that are not related to each other. Some people hear about GMO technology and are inspired by scientific research that allows changing this type of DNA, while others are scared that DNA can be changed by science.
There is no right or wrong attitude towards GMOs, but it would be nice to really understand why foods can be genetically modified before forming an opinion.
It is also important to note that GMOs are not the same as hybridization or breeding, which are natural methods that farmers have used for thousands of years to produce crops with certain desired characteristics, such as larger strawberries or corn of different shades. DNA does not change in these cases.
Why are foods genetically modified
Researchers are developing GMOs that give an advantage to farmers or consumers. For example, if GMO crops yield higher yields, farmers get more profit, and consumers get more food at a lower price.
Sometimes foods are specially genetically modified to get more nutritional value.
Food products can also be modified to improve crop protection. This means that the DNA of the crop has been altered to ensure that the crop is resistant to disease, drought or pests. This also means that the crop can be more resistant to pesticides, so fewer pesticides can be used.
Some of these advances can be achieved using non-engineering methods, but changing plants or animals using traditional breeding methods takes a long time, and these changes cannot be precise or specific.
One of the advantages of GMOs is that researchers can change plants or animals in a more specific way and in a shorter period of time. Of course, some opponents see this as harm rather than benefit, and worry about altering the DNA of the products, which could potentially cause allergies or antibiotic resistance.
General concerns about GMOs
Some people are concerned about the use of GMOs for human health and for the planet. Here are a few reasons why:
There are concerns that the transfer of genes of common allergens (peanuts, fish, soy) to other products may cause an allergic reaction in susceptible people. But gene transfer from common allergens is not recommended unless scientists can prove that the transferred gene is not allergenic. No allergic effects were found in comparison with GM products currently on the market.
Some GMO plants are bred resistant to insects, which reduces the use of pesticides. But many GMOs are designed to withstand the direct use of pesticides such as glyphosate (the main ingredient of Roundup). Glyphosate has been classified as a probable carcinogen for humans (with excessive exposure).
Transfer of antibiotic-resistant genes
There is some general concern that antibiotic resistance genes may be transferred to GMO foods and then into the human body. The probability of transmission is small (but not impossible).
Contamination of other crops
Genes from GM plants can be transferred to non-GMO or organic crops, which is known as outcrossing. Some people are concerned about this uncontrolled spread and how it will affect the soil, wild plants, the environment and other crops.
Can a GMO be certified as organic?
By definition, foods or supplements that are labeled organic cannot be grown from GMOs or contain any genetically modified ingredients.
The use of genetic engineering or genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is prohibited in organic products. If you are looking for non-GMO products, you can buy products marked "non-GMO" or "organic".
Genetic modification is a high—level science that can help increase yields while lowering food prices, but some people are not convinced that this is a good idea. Since GM foods only appeared in the 1990s, there are some concerns that there is not enough research on their safety in the long run.
At the moment, scientists consider them safe, and GMO products (especially corn, soy and rapeseed) are widely available to consumers. If you don't want to eat GMO foods, you can choose foods labeled "non-GMO" or organic labeling.
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