An organism or microorganism that has had its genetic material modified by means of genetic engineering is considered a genetically modified organism (GMO).
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An organism’s abilities are enhanced by injecting it with genetic material it doesn’t normally produce. Cotton and maize are typical crops grown with genetically modified organisms.
Our changing society is affected by GMOs in the same way as anything else in the world. As a way of making stronger organisms, genetically modified organisms may also be referred to as selective breeding. In essence, GMOs don’t necessarily refer to plants, but rather to the ability of these organisms to adapt to their changing environments. Scientists considered natural selection too slow.
Selective breeding was used to speed up the process by taking living organisms into the lab. Incorporating natural living organisms into GMOs speeds up production, improves nutrition, and makes our food sources more pest-resistant, for a safer environment as well. Twenty-nine countries grew 12 million more hectares of GMO crops in 2011 than they did in 2010.
By increasing production, GM products help reduce the amount of agricultural land that is being used; they reserve more land for forests and wildlife – which has a positive impact on the environment. Since GM crops are more resistant to pesticides than non-GM crops, they reduce crop loss, resulting in a higher crop yield.
As well as being modified to resist pesticides, GM crops are also being modified to withstand extreme weather conditions. GM crops produce a chemical called Bt Toxin, which kills harmful insects, but not humans. Due to the already built-in toxins, GM products are safer for humans that regularly purchase them. Genetically modified crops can now also withstand extreme weather conditions, which helps to reduce crop loss and increase production.
Clearly, droughts and low temperatures can make it difficult to grow plants, but genetic engineering allows them to live longer, not necessarily survive. Health concerns have been raised about GMOs. A genetic organism’s perceived efficiency also has a negative aspect.
Before selling genetically modified organisms, many people worry that the organisms are not rigorously tested. The shortest testing period for a GMO is 90 days; 3 months, but it doesn’t seem to be enough for a portion of the public to feel confident in them. The link between GMOs and diseases or food allergies has not yet been established by scientific experiments.
Although bioengineering saved scientists time compared to natural selection, it scared people because it appeared as a shortcut. Wouldn’t bioengineering mean less time observing any flaws that could occur during the process if it meant faster production?
Even though scientists still have to follow several procedures before releasing any genetically modified organisms (GMOs), hundreds of thousands of people see them merely as a way to make money, and there has not been any definite research that has proven these products to be safe. These foods are being injected with foreign genes that the human body isn’t used to processing, so scientists fear they won’t be able to discern any dangerous side effects in time.
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