Genetically Modified Food: Panacea or Poison Essay

Genetic modified foods can have its negative effects, such as not knowing what the long term health effects might be, but it is beneficial to humans as it produces a better quality and quantity of food that could possibly end starvation. It also gives the possibility to save some trees and help the environment. The way genetic modified foods products are produced are by genetic engineering, “… a radical technology that allows us to take bits of DNA and genetic traits form insects, bacteria, viruses, even humans and bring those into our food products” (05:52).

In BIO1162, the textbook covers this in chapter 26, pg526, where it explains that biologist might want to clone the genes and then use them to alter its genetic traits, for a number of reasons including the use of the gene to alter the phenotypes of other organisms in a way that’s beneficial to us, for example making a tomato bigger. I found this interesting as it’s hard to imagine that by taking parts of a DNA of things like insects and bacteria into our food supply, the quality of that food can increase.

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This information is significant as it explains what the process of genetic engineering is, and how it is involved in our life. Bacillus thuringiensis, “…better known as B. T, is a natural occluding bacterium that can be found in most natural soil samples. Organic farmers have used it for years as an insect spray because when B. T exists outside the plant it is soon broken down by the sun and it’s known to be harmless to humans” (08:08). This arouses the idea that what if the BT gets into the plant, because BT is toxic and corn becomes extremely deadly for insects, what effect does it cause in us?

Chapter 26 also covers transgenic plants; it states that plants are also being engineered to produce human proteins, such as hormones, clotting factors and antibodies, in their seeds. It also states that one type of antibody made by corn can deliver radioisotopes to tumor cells, and those made by soybeans can be used to treat genital herpes (Inquiry of Life pg. 531). It is interesting how the fact that BT is so toxic, and maybe deadly, and it’s still used as a soil for our food, but also that the antibiotics made by plants can help treats serious illness.

It also provides us with the information that our food that we eat are being contaminated by toxics, arousing the question of what happens to us after we eat it. This documentary states that “The health implications of genetically engineered foods are significant. Firstly the possibility of toxic reactions to foods like genetically engineered triptafen a health food supplement in amino acid used for sleeping disorder” (18:31) food are altered to make them resistant to pests because their cells now produce an insect toxin.

This arouses the doubt about it being healthy for consumption on human health and in the environment. (Inquiry of Life pg. 531). This is important, as it explains the previous quote, even though it is toxic, in some ways it benefits our health. A contamination can occur, that can affect humans, and the environment, it is a pollution that is on growing and cannot be contained. Farmers use genetic drifts to better understand on particular traits within species. A genetic drift refers to the fact that… genetic information from one plant and if its compatible if they are like species, genetic information can move from one to the other mostly through pollen and so genetic drift refers to that ability of pollen to move from one area to another” (25:47). Farmers are concerned of how crops get contaminated without a noticeable reason. In biology 1167 we discussed the inheritance system, and Gregor Mendel came up with laws by studying pea plants.

The production of genetic modified foods can be both negative and positive, but everyone should have the choice of consuming these kinds of food, “no labels are required, according to U. S food and drug administration” (41:04). I included this quote because I believe it is important to the documentary, people should know what they are eating and what’s in it. Also, they made a good point of how it’s about ‘what you don’t know, doesn’t hurts you’, but this serious and individuals should be aware of the ingredients.