Genetic engineering has contributed greatly to the advances


Dec 12, 2012 (4 years and 4 months ago)


Science and Today’s Headlines

Genetically Modified Organisms

Hembly Rivas

Genetic engineering has contributed greatly to the advances of our world today.

creating herbicide resistant crops to vaccine distributing vegetables, GMOs (genetically modified
proved endless opportunities in the food industry
Omnivore’s Dilemma

Michael Pollan introduces us to the idea of

questioning the actual process and origin

of our
foods t
discusses how

corn has become a staple in our everyday meals based on
biological, cultural

and political factors.

t we must understand that humans have been altering the genomes of various species
for thousands of years. Through the process of selective breeding plants and animals have been
selected and reproduced according to their genetic traits. This

differs from g
enetic engineering
because there is no human intervention directly introducing genetic information to the plants
chromosome. Selective breeding uses biological means like cross pollination to improve plant
quality. This is why the topic is so controversial
. Some say it’s too much power to be able to
manipulate and unnatural to be able to create and modify wildlife.

Genetic modifications start

with a process calle
d gene isolation.
A desirable gene’s loci is
identified and isolated for its DNA sequence to be
artificially synthesized. Consequently the gene
can be inserted to the selected organism in a mixture called a construct. This genetic information
contains the instructions needed to produce proteins that can improve a plants yield, growth, size,
etc. The

ability to introduce genes from organisms that originally cannot be bred makes genetic
engineering so desirable. One of these traits is Bt. It is a toxin to many pests and is genetically
modified into corn. It improves yield and less work for the farmer i
n production.

Rivas 2

Genetic modifications have their advantages as well as disadvantages also. One is the
prevention of diseases. Genes that code for antiviral proteins can be implanted in carrots and sold
to the masses. Wheat can be genetically altered to pro
duce insulin as well. The possibilities are
endless but of course there are draw backs. If such power is available if put in the wrong hands
disasters can occur. The long term effects of genetic modifications are still unknown. The effects
it can cause in
later generations or the mutations that may develop from exposure to these genes
is unknown and frightening. It is also been reported that allergies can develop or resistance from
the pesticide modified within the organisms. Another problem is the moral is
sues concerning
genetic engineering. Religions arguing that humans have no right to tamper with nature has been
argued and debated across the world.

In all truth the advancements and changes that GMOs have had on our lives are great.
They have enabled us
to grow crops in climates that originally wouldn’t support life. They have
also lessened our exposure to pesticides and toxins used to help reduce the loss of crops to pests
and animals. The yield of crops is incredible and requires less work and has made
farming a
means of living for many. Rules and regulations should be developed to help deal with the
controversy. And the diet of someone with genetically altered food compared to an organic diet
should be compared. Research and understanding should be dev
eloped for this branch of science
for it has immense potential and may help lessen world hunger and the spread of disease.