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Arguments on genetically modified foods

Genetically modified meals have turn into a significant concern and have triggered controversy concerning both their health and environmental results (2). ‘Using trendy methods of genetic engineering, it’s possible to introduce particular genetic material derived from any species of plant, animal, or microorganism, or perhaps a artificial material, into completely different species of plant’ (Journal 1) This permits a desired trait to be enhanced and reproduced. (3) (4) ‘The ensuing crops are commonly often identified as genetically modified (GM) plants; when used as meals sources, they’re generally identified as GM meals.

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’ (Journal 1)

‘It is probable that crop enchancment began as quickly as farming did’ (1) It is thought that improvement to crops and harvesting developed subconsciously with farmers selectively breeding animals and isolating, to then reproduce crops from those with probably the most desired attributes and from highly variable populations.(1) The first genetically modified crop was the tomato Flavr Savr, produced by a Californian company Calgene, in 1992 whose ‘intention was to create a vine-ripened tomato that was both ‘long-lasting and tasty’.

(6) However the corporate failed to stop the pores and skin of the tomato from soften whilst the fruit ripened. It took 10 years for the development of the tomato, (6) however eventually it received FDA approval in 1994 (6), and led to an increase in GM meals merchandise available available on the market.

Romania, Mexico, Germany, Australia and France are just a few of the 13 nations recognized to have grown genetically engineered crops on their land for business use within the 12 months 2000. (7) The United States of America produced 68% of the worlds GM crops, and due to this fact turned the largest producer of these crops.

In comparability to this, Argentina produced, 23%, Canada, 7% and China only 1%. Statistics from 2007 have proven a considerable increase from 1.7 million hectares being used for growing Gm foods in 1996, to 143 million hectares in 23 international locations around the globe, with 90% of GM meals produced being in developed or newly-developed countries.(journal one).

Ways to make GM meals.

Genetic modification of a selected plant or animal species could be achieved by a quantity of other ways. (3) Genetic engineering entails the DNA alteration of a plant or animal’s DNA which holds the genetic information of the species. It is the alterations of a specific gene that enables modification of sure traits displayed. In order to change a sure attribute, the corresponding gene coding for it, must initially be isolated in order to be inserted into a new DNA strand utilizing a transfer vector. A Vector ‘is an agent that may carry a DNA fragment into a host cell.’ (19) Plasmids are round DNA molecules which might be examples of vectors and ‘can replicate independently of the host cell.’ (3) Once the gene is current in the transfer vector it could then be directed into the cells of the goal organism. Then inside the cell the vector replicates and turns into a part of the cell’s own DNA, altering the organism’s traits.

Similar to this technique is the vector method which entails the merchandise being inserted instantly into genome via another vector. As properly as this there’s also the biolistic methodology, which is often often identified as the gene-gun method and is a way predominantly utilized in plant modification. (20) Pellets of metallic ‘coated with the desirable DNA’ are fired at the target cells that are then allowed to reproduce, and should presumably be cloned so as to produce a ‘genetically equivalent crop.’ (20)

Advantages and downsides of GM foods

With the world’s population expected to reach 12 billion in the next 50 years, the demand for high of the range produce will proceed to extend. By growing genetically modified vegetation with a resistance to pests or herbicides, then the usage of chemical applications could also be decreased, as can the costs of producing a crop, damage by undesirable pests/weeds.(8)

With the rise of varied totally different virus’, diseases and micro organism that impact and inhibit the expansion of a crop, applied sciences have enabled genetically engineered crops to be resistant to those totally different illnesses. (9)Plants corresponding to tobacco and potato have had antifreeze genes introduced in to them, to encourage the plants to resist cold temperatures that may usually kill such crops. (10)

A common problem in third world nations is malnutrition with estimations of 1.02 billion folks being undernourished and starved. (13) The main staple diet for these individuals is rice which sadly does not contain enough quantities of the nutrients and nutritional vitamins required to help stop malnutrition. Genetically engineering this crop to have the ability to create a nutritionally enriched rice variety would have the potential to help improve and in turn, eliminate these deficiencies. Vitamin A deficiency, estimated to have an effect on hundreds of thousands of people all over the world prompted the design of ‘Golden rice’ researched by Ingo Potrykus and Peter Beyer and contained very large portions of beta-carotene, which the physique makes use of and coverts to Vitamin A, and is required for numerous completely different metabolic features including in vision, immune functions and bone metabolism. (3)

‘Genetic engineering methods are now more commonly being used in order to introduce into plants, specific DNA that leads to the expression of distinct and distinctive proteins which are of specific curiosity and could also be harvested and used in the ‘…production of pharmaceutical compounds.’ (11) Currently, synthesis of plant-derived proteins supposed for pharmaceutical use remains to be within the early growth levels. Examples of the forms of protein and their supposed use are summarised in the desk below.

Nutrition

Some examples of GM plants with improved characteristics designed to improve well being and nutrition are Maize with added vitamin C content, Potato with insulin as nicely as enhanced calcium levels, rice with added iron or zinc and occasional beans with decreased caffeine content material. (journal 2)

One research in to which a genetically modified green pepper and a standard unmodified pepper have been analyzed for his or her nutrient and mineral contents and showed no important opposing outcomes between the 2 peppers. The analysis showed that there was neither significant difference within the power and the protein ranges nor a difference within the mineral content material which included calcium, phosphorus, iron, sodium, potassium, magnesium, and zinc. This due to this fact concluded that, the nutrient composition of the genetically modified green pepper was discovered to be equal to that of the usual unmodified peppers. (journal 11)

Another research that tested genetically modified Bt maize on laying quails additionally gave an analogous conclusion to the green pepper research. (Flachowsky et al., 2005b; Halle et al., 2006).The results confirmed that ‘Bt maize didn’t significantly affect well being, hatchability and performances of quails nor did it affect the quality of meat and eggs of quails’ compared with the unmodified maize that was also tested. (journal 2) One exception to this examine nevertheless was the that carried out by Piva et al. (2001a,b) who famous that ‘significantly improved animal performance was associated with a food regimen containing the Bt maize.’ It is thought that this ‘improved performance’ demonstrated by the animals fed the genetically modified Bt maize crop, was as a result of it lowered ‘secondary fungal an infection and, as a consequence, reduced mycotoxin contamination.’ (journal 2)

Toxicity

‘Publications on GM food toxicity are scarce’. Although there are many arguments and opinions surrounding the toxicity of GM meals, there is little experimental knowledge and evaluation to construct such arguments. ‘In fact, no peer-reviewed publications of clinical research on the human well being effects of GM food exist. Even animal studies are few and far between’ (18)

Acute toxicity research on the ‘Flavr Savr’ genetically modified tomatoes, required by the FDA, had been carried out with rats to discover out poisonous results of the GM product. ‘It was concluded that mean body and organ weights, weight achieve, food consumption and scientific chemistry or blood parameters weren’t significantly different between GM-fed and control teams.’ However it was famous that sections of the abdomen in as much as 7 of the 20 feminine rats fed the GM tomato, confirmed ‘mild/moderate erosive/necrotic lesions’ and in addition to this 7 of the 40 rats concerned within the experiment were recognized to have died a few weeks after for unspoken reasons. (18)

Another experiment that examined herbicide-resistant GM maize ‘showed significant differences in fats and carbohydrate contents compared with non-GM maize.’ Toxicity exams have been carried out and confirmed that the ‘rats capacity to digest was decreased after eating GM corn.’ (18) Likewise exams in to ‘potatoes remodeled with a selected toxin gene or the toxin itself was proven to have triggered an array of unwanted effects and confirmed that, CryI toxin was certainly secure in the intestine of the mouse and ‘therefore GM crops expressing it need to be subjected to “thorough tests…to keep away from the risks before advertising.’ (18) Such research assist people’s considerations about GM meals and spotlight the necessity for further research in to them and their health effects.

Allergies

Another issue with the rise in the manufacturing of genetically modified crops is the transfer of allergens in to new crops and the effects of particular allergens on human immune response. (journal 3) The majority of dietary proteins consumed are hydrolysed, and digested into smaller peptides that don’t produce immune response in most people. However for these unfortunate enough to have hypersensitivity problems, allergic sort inflammatory responses can occur when contact with sure foods is made. ‘For this cause, the introduction of genetically modified crops into the human meals chain that contain allergens or proteins of unknown allergic potential might be of risk’. (Journal 8) Nordlee et al. (1996) cited in (journal 8) demonstrated utilizing the Brazil nut protein that allergenicity was indeed transferable by genetic modification. Amongst different issues these studies confirmed issues that ‘sensitivity might be transferred to transgenic vegetation when an allergen is expressed in a non-native host through genetic modification.’ (journal 8)

Lee et all (2006) in contrast the allergenicity of GM potatoes with that of non- GM potatoes during which 1886 patients who suffered various allergic diseases and so forth had been used for testing. From his study he was able to conclude that genetic modification of crops didn’t trigger an increase in allergenicity.

The use of certain ‘animal models’ has ‘been developed to find a way to take a look at whether or not meals components similar to GM proteins could probably induce allergic reactions. (journal 2) The animals are often responders to excessive IgE and are sensitised earlier than given the ‘test compound.’ The animal fashions all have in frequent the production of particular IgE antibodies to the particular proteins. Particular proteins that cause meals allergy in people are claimed to provide extra pronounced IgE responses whereas proteins that do not readily cause such results in people are claimed to induce poor IgE responses. (Journal 2)

An example of 1 such mannequin is the BN rat which is a ‘high-immunoglobulin (particularly IgE) responder strain’ and is analogous to people in the method in which that they produce ‘antigen-specific immunoglobins’,-which are glycoprotein’s that perform as certain antibodies. (3) Experimental investigations in to the hypersensitivity of rats to specific proteins performed by Knippels et al., 1998, showed the rats have been capable of producing particular antibodies (IgG and IgE) and immune responses to the mannequin antigen ‘ovalbumin’, found in egg white and infrequently employed in experiments into immunology and hypersensitivity to stimulate allergic reactions. (3) Analysis of the analysis showed the rats developed allergic responses to the identical problematic proteins that trigger reactions in humans. (Knippels & Penninks, 2002). (Journal 8)

Pharmaceuticals

One of the most impressive applications of genetic engineering is now the event of so-called “pharma crops.”‘ Specific genes in some helpful crops are modified with to ensure that certain chemical compounds, antibodies, hormones and proteins to be produced that can be utilized in numerous functions within the pharmaceutical business. (14)

The firm, INB Biotechnologies in Philadelphia have been lately designing a ‘nontoxic anthrax vaccine via the transgenic modification of petunias.’ This causes the manufacturing of latest proteins by the plant that in flip causes the event of antibodies towards the anthrax bacterium, when consumed. (16) Trials have begun on genetically engineered crops designed for ‘healing wounds and treating conditions corresponding to cystic fibrosis, cirrhosis of the liver and anaemia; antibodies to fight cancer and vaccines in opposition to rabies, cholera and foot-and-mouth disease.’ (15)

The idea of genetically engineered crops for pharmaceutical use is a fairly new concept, and subsequently such merchandise are still of their preliminary stages of design and testing. However vital concern has been raised surrounding their use and potential penalties. For instance it’s thought that meals crops already are or could sooner or later, be ‘contaminated by DNA sequences from GM crops.’ (15) Genetically modified crops run the chance of ultimately introducing unknown, potentially harmful chemicals into the meals chain, by accidental cross breeding and seed contamination. (17)

Conclusion

As well as there being many advantages to genetic engineering and the introduction of genetically modified meals, there are as well, possible risks and hazards resulting in concern over their use and potential risks to each the surroundings and to people. However there might be inconsiderable proof to suggest that there are disadvantages and significant dangers of consuming GM meals. Various testing has been carried out on an array of substances and components of GM crops to check for certain results, some of these being toxicity and allergenicity. There are conflicting stories; some suggesting GM foods are safe, others that say they are harmful and a threat to human well being.

Although solely slight results have been observed on the animals examined, it is enough to warrant nervousness over GM meals and their possible implications on people. Some would argue minor changes and effects on animals doesn’t necessarily imply that they might have the identical impact, if consumed, on humans, but, there have additionally been a quantity of experiments that contradict this and analysis of which conclude little or no medical, toxicological abnormalities observed in the animals having been examined.

It has been demonstrated that Genetic modification in addition to being advantageous can even increase the dietary worth of a food supply, providing useful benefits, corresponding to crops with extra vitamins/minerals and so forth similar to the example of ‘golden rice’ highlighted above. However there are additionally important disadvantages such as possible toxicity and allergic elements in some GM meals sources. Having looked at the evidence surrounding such elements it is difficult to say whether or not or not there are nutritional arguments towards genetically modified meals. It is safe to say subsequently, that new and improved strategies are needed to further examine the ‘compositional, dietary, toxicological and metabolic differences between GM and conventional crops’ likewise the ‘techniques used in growing GM crops’ in order to expel the fears of many and allow for know-how in this field to broaden safely. (18)

References

Websites

  1. http://www.greenpeace.org/international/campaigns/genetic-engineering accessed 26/11/09
  2. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/special_report/1999/02/99/food_under_the_microscope/280868.stm accessed 24/11/09
  3. http://en.wikipedia.org accessed 25/11/09
  4. http://www.csa.com/discoveryguides/gmfood/gloss.php accessed 24/11/09
  5. http://www.disabled-world.com/fitness/gm-foods.php accessed 25/11/09
  6. http://www.brighthub.com/science/genetics/articles/27236.aspx#ixzz0XoDxyU4H accessed 24/11/09
  7. http://www.csa.com/discoveryguides/gmfood/overview.php accessed 25/11/09
  8. Insecticidal proteins from Bacillus thuringiensis defend corn from corn rootworms (Nature Biotechnology, Vol 19, No 7, pp 668-672, Jul 2001) Lepidopteran-resistant transgenic plants (US Patent 6313378, Nov 2001, Monsanto) cited in (7)
  9. Transgenic Approaches to Combat Fusarium Head Blight in Wheat and Barley (Crop Science, Vol 41, No three, pp 628-627, Jun 2001) Post-transcriptional gene silencing in plum pox virus resistant transgenic European plum containing the plum pox potyvirus coat protein gene (Transgenic Research, Vol 10, No three, pp 201-209, Jun 2001) cited in (7)
  10. Type II fish antifreeze protein accumulation in transgenic tobacco does not confer frost resistance (Transgenic Research, Vol 8, No 2, pp 105-117, Apr 1999) cited in (7)
  11. http://www.card.iastate.edu/publications/DBS/PDFFiles/06wp429.pdf accessed 25/11/09
  12. Molecular farming for brand spanking new drugs and vaccines EMBO report – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1369121/pdf/6-7400470.pdf/?tool=pmcentrez accessed 24/11/09
  13. http://www.wfp.org/hunger accessed 24/11/09
  14. http://www.matternetwork.com/2008/7/making-most-pharma-crops.cfm accessed 25/11/09
  15. http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn4709 accessed 26/11/09
  16. http://www.scu.edu/ethics/practicing/focusareas/medical/conference/presentations/genetically-modified-foods.html accessed 26/11/09
  17. http://www.beep.ac.uk/content/371.zero.html accessed 24/11/09
  18. http://www.biointegrity.org and Fares, N.H. and El-Sayed, A.K. (1998) Fine structural changes within the ileum of mice fed on delta-endotoxin-treated potatoes and transgenic potatoes. Natural Toxins 6, 219-233 cited in http://www.actionbioscience.org/biotech/pusztai.html accessed 25/11/09
  19. http://www.web-books.com/MoBio/Free/Ch9A4.htm accessed 09/12/09
  20. http://library.thinkquest.org/C004367/be9.shtml accessed 09/12/09

Journals

  1. Risk evaluation of genetically modified crops for diet and health- Javier A Magaña-Gómez and Ana M Calderón de la Barca
  2. Safety and nutritional assessment of GM vegetation and derived food and feed: The function of animal feeding trials- Report of the EFSA GMO Panel Working Group on Animal Feeding Trials
  3. Assessment of the security of meals derived from genetically modified (GM) crops – A. Ko¨ niga,*, A. Cockburnb, R.W.R. Crevelc, E. Debruyned, R. Grafstroeme, U. Hammerlingf, I. Kimberg, I. Knudsenh, H.A. Kuiperi, A.A.C.M. Peijnenburgi, A.H. Penninksj, M. Poulsenh, M. Schauzuk, J.M. Wall
  4. Genetically modified crops and meals hypersensitivity ailments: Usage and implications of experimental fashions for threat evaluation A new oral sensitization model in rats to meals proteins and the significance of dietary control in oral sensitization with soy- Knippels, LMJ; Penninks, AH; Spanhaak, S, et al
  5. The nutrient composition of the herbicide-tolerant green pepper is equal to that of the conventional green pepper Hongju Parka, Sunghyen Leea,c,four, Hyunjin Jeonga, Sumook Choa, Hyekyung Chuna, Ohhyun Backa, Donghern Kimb, Hyun S. Lillehojc

Books

  1. Plant biotechnology. Ed, Nigel G. Halford (2006) chapter 1 pg5 John Wiley and sons Ltd west sussex, England

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