Is The Genetic Engineering Of Food Safe And Healthy?

Genetic engineering of food has the potential to change forever the way the world's population is fed, bringing increased food yields from the same crops and the same land, while at the same time lessening the need for artificial chemicals such as fertilizers and insecticides. The most common and longest established genetic modification technology is that which pertains to plant foods, which are already sold in many countries as of routine. The genetic engineering of animal products is considerably more difficult to achieve, but it is being done at the present time, and there is no doubt that commercially available products will be seen very soon.

There is also no doubt that genetic engineering is one of the most controversial scientific advances in history, as the potential for good is matched by an equally significant potential for difficulty and unforeseen consequences. There are still gaps in the scientific understanding of DNA, which is the building block used by scientists to facilitate genetic modification, and it is impossible to predict the long term effects of taking modified food into the body. The spread of genetically altered plants without prior intention is also something which is difficult to control, and this could have far reaching effects.

There are effectively three generations of the genetic modification of plant food, with the first of those being the simplest to understand and to carry out. As modern agriculture has developed, there has been an increasing need to use chemical fertilizers and pesticides to make sure that crops are healthy, and are not savaged by insect pests. These chemicals are themselves controversial, as it is impossible to measure the damage which they do when they are ingested into the body. If new strains of resistant crops can be developed, waste and damage could be greatly reduced.

types of genetic engineering

The next dimension for genetic engineering of food is to improve the yield still further by improving the resistance to natural phenomena which can be highly destructive. There are many climates in the United States and throughout the world which are potentially threatening to plant life, as they are somewhat unpredictable. It is possible for a temperature far colder than average to be threatening to crops, and resistant strains of crops could help to guard against that. It is also possible to produce plants which need less water, and which are consequently far less at risk from drought.

There is another dimension which goes beyond this, albeit in a vastly different way. The third generation of genetic modification uses plants to grow and propagate drugs and vaccines, which are then far more freely available to treat medical conditions. There is no attempt here to increase the yield of the crop, or to produce more food, the sole focus is on using the plant to achieve other objectives. This is, surprisingly, one of the less controversial ways of using genetic engineering, because it does not actually alter the substance which is being developed. The drugs will be of the same structure as other drugs of the same type.

genetic engineering

The benefits of this genetic engineering of food are manifold and potentially far reaching. It is possible that the same land which produces a certain amount of food can be made to produce far more, and that what is produced can be protected to a large extent from disease and waste. This will lessen the number of years where a truly awful yield will mean shortages and increasing prices, and it can also mean that more people throughout the world are adequately fed. Political changes will obviously be necessary to facilitate this, but it is certainly possible.

Despite these considerations, there are many people who are seriously uncertain as to whether pursuing genetic engineering is a good idea. Not enough is yet known about DNA to be able to accurately predict the effects of the long term ingestion of altered food on the human body, and this is only the first of the potential problems. The spreading of altered genes throughout the plant world is something which cannot be accurately predicted or controlled, so there is every possibility that genetically modified crops could spread in uncontrolled ways.

Opposing opinions on the genetic engineering of food are vehemently held by either side, each believing totally that they are right. If you want to form your own opinion, you will need to carry out some research. There are very few truly independent or impartial websites, so you will need to read biased viewpoints from either side to gain a balanced overview. Once you have done this, and obtained significant knowledge of the facts involved, you will be able to form your own opinion. There is still much which cannot be predicted and which is completely unknown, so there cannot be a definitive answer concerning genetic engineering of food.

 

 

 

Genetic Engineering News:

 

Israeli University Harnesses Viruses to Fight Antibiotic-resistant Bacteria - Haaretz

Haaretz

Israeli University Harnesses Viruses to Fight Antibiotic-resistant Bacteria
Haaretz
EURœOne of the main difficulties relates to the fact that every phage is very specific, suited to only one type of bacteria. What we've managed to do here is take a phage suited to one bacterium EUR in this case, the E. coli bacterium EUR and use it to infect .

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Words matter: Goodbye 'GMO'? - Genetic Literacy Project

Genetic Literacy Project

Words matter: Goodbye 'GMO'?
Genetic Literacy Project
These are all examples of genetic modification, but not all offer the predictability and precision of the process of genetic engineering. This is why actual scientists rarely (if ever) use the EURœGMOEUR designation in technical parlance. It first regularly .

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New molecular scissors act like a GPS to improve genome editing - Science Daily

Science Daily

New molecular scissors act like a GPS to improve genome editing
Science Daily
. capable of acting like a GPS in order to identify its destination within the intricate map of the genome. The high precision of Cpf1 will improve the use of this type of technology in repairing genetic damage and in other medical and .

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Immunotherapy Response Predicted by DNA Repair Deficiencies . - Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

Immunotherapy Response Predicted by DNA Repair Deficiencies .
Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News
Flaws in a tumor's genetic mending kit drive treatment response to immunotherapy.

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Genetically modified food is too advanced for its out-of-date regulations - The Hill (blog)

The Hill (blog)

Genetically modified food is too advanced for its out-of-date regulations
The Hill (blog)
The first is whether certain genetic modifications should be treated as though they are found in nature EUR” for example, a mutation that naturally confers disease resistance in a crop. The second concerns what types of breeding techniques should be .

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IARPA seeks tech to ID bioengineered life forms - FCW.com (blog)

FCW.com (blog)

IARPA seeks tech to ID bioengineered life forms
FCW.com (blog)
IARPA said its Finding Engineering-Linked Indicators (FELIX) program looks to develop new tech that can spot genetically engineered changes within biological systems to spur "mitigation responses to unlawful or accidental release of organisms." IARPA .

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Colon Cancer-Driven Stem Cells Linked to High-Fat Diet - Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

Colon Cancer-Driven Stem Cells Linked to High-Fat Diet
Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News
. but the input to these signaling programs is new and may represent a possible target. In terms of next steps, one would be to see whether this can be applied to other obesity-driven tumors. Can lessons from colon cancer be leveraged to other tumor .

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