Food & Diet
10 GM Food Questions Answered
There are many questions about GM foods that can get you confused, so in order to make things as clear as possible, this article will answer 10 of the most troubling ones.
First, you need to know that GMOs or genetically modified organisms are plants, animals or microorganisms that have had their genetic material changed in a way that doesn’t naturally happen. The technology which involves altering the DNA of organisms is called “modern biotechnology”, but according to the World Health Organization it can also be called “recombinant DNA technology”, “genetic engineering” or “gene technology”. This technology allows scientists to transfer genes from one species to another that are not related in any way. Foods produced in this process are called GM foods.
1. What is the reason for the production of GM foods?
GM foods were originally produced for the purpose of increasing the level of crop protection by decreasing plant susceptibility towards diseases and viruses. The producers and marketers of these foods started this practice because they saw some purpose in it – first, these foods would be cheaper, and second, they would last longer before spoiling.
The developers of these GM seeds wanted farmers to accept their product, whether for financial gain or to bring some benefit to the farmers. Anyhow, these GM foods repel insects as scientists have added a gene in charge of the production of a toxin which is usually used in agriculture as an insecticide. As these foods already contain this toxin, farmers are led to believe that they are healthier as they need smaller amounts of insecticides.
These foods have viruses incorporated in them, and those are usually the viruses that cause plant diseases. These plants should build up resistance, grow stronger and not die in conditions in which non-GM plants would die, which means crop yields should be higher.
However, according to an article published in Scientific American last year, GM plants are not really protected from insects as much as GMO producers would want you to think. As people need to use pesticides as well, they need to invest a lot more money than they thought they would have to, which results in higher prices of their plants. This may be because by feeding on GM seeds, insects developed resistance and mutated, which means that the original purpose of producing GM foods actually failed.