The Impacts of Genetically Modified Organisms (Essay Example)
Science has become very advanced to the point where anything can be genetically modified, this ranges from crops and animals to even humans! Although this is very astonishing, there are many downsides that come with this advancement. For that reason, due to the many risks brought up, organisms, specifically foods, should not be genetically modified.
Genetically modified organisms, or GMOs for short, are any organism whose genetic material has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally, mainly inside laboratories using genetic engineering technology. One form of genetic modification is genome editing, one source defines genome editing as a way, “of making specific changes to the DNA of a cell or organism.”(“What is Genome”). Furthermore, genome editing is a technique used on various organisms, it is a way to add, remove, or alter DNA. When it comes to plants and animals, there are various amounts of different methods to genetically manipulate these organisms, the most known to be genetic engineering and genetic modification. These techniques are described as “Genetic engineering is the direct manipulation of an organism’s DNA using any number of methods. GMO is the genetic modification of organisms” (“Biotechnology confusion: Differences”). Yes, there are several different ways to modify these organisms, but when it comes to genetic engineering and genetic modification, many risks are raised by these methods.
Genetically modified foods are genetically unstable, every insertion of a gene is random, this, of course, brings up many safety issues. Due to the instability, one of the issues produced from GMOs is the toxicity that is present in modified foods. One article explains, “The scientists specifically warned that the genetic engineering of foods could result in “increased levels of known naturally occurring toxicants, appearance of new, not previously identified toxicants, [and] increased capability of concentrating toxic substances from the environment (e.g., pesticides or heavy metals)”(“GE Food &”). This excerpt from the article emphasizes how genetically engineered foods result in increased levels of three new toxins, mainly of which, are dangerous. Another website wrote this about the toxicity in GMOs, “GM crop studies found an association between tryptophan consumption, L-tryptophan specifically, and an increased number of deaths as well as neurologic disability”(“Genetically Modified Organisms”). Based on the evidence, this shows how GE foods have shown to cause an increase in various serious risks like death. All of this proves that GMOs are very dangerous because of the very serious and dangerous safety risks they bring up.
GMOs also raise other health risks like cancer. Most of the cancer risks come from the hormone-insulin-like growth factor-1, or IGF-1 for short. One article says, “The Canadians and Europeans further found that the FDA had completely failed to consider a study which showed that the increased IGF-1 in rBGH milk could survive digestion and make its way into the intestines and blood streams of consumers. These findings are significant because numerous studies now demonstrate that IGF-1 is an important factor in the growth of breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer”(“GE Foods &”). Essentially, this explains how the increased amount of the hormone IGF-1, when added to rBGH milk, is very dangerous as it can lead to cancer due to the reason that the hormone is a principal factor in the growth of various cancers. This supports that GMOs are risky because of the increase rates of cancer. Another article goes into more depth about this, “The increased levels of IGF-1 in humans predict increased rates in colon, breast, and prostate cancer, since they stimulate the indolent slowly growing tumor cells that appear in an aging individual resulting in clinical cancer necessarily old”(Dona & Arvanitoyannis). Additionally, this adds that IGF-1can promote cancer growth because the hormone is able to proliferate the tumor cells that can result in cancer. Overall, even though cancer has so far only been shown to be caused by the hormone IGF-1, this proves that GMOs are highly unsafe because many modified crops still have questionable effects when being consumed, so who knows how much other GMOs could cause this high of a risk. Therefore, foods should not be genetically modified.
On the opposite end, some people do believe that GMOs are good and beneficial for society. One article says, “Biotech can make food healthier, giving lettuce a greater concentration of nutrients, reducing starch in potatoes or lowering the saturated-fat content of cooking oils”(“Arguments for and”). This quote demonstrates how GMOs are good because they can make various foods healthier, one example being that food is able to get greater amounts of nutrients. However, this may not be entirely true. Another article goes into more depth saying, “A gene selected for modification can increase or decrease the vitamin, mineral or fatty acid content found in the modified food...Sometimes when one nutrient is increased another will decrease as an unintended consequence”(Young). Clearly, this revals how GMOs do not enhance the nutrition of foods, instead, certain nutrients are just being swapped out for other nutrients. Basically, no more nutrients are getting added, this breaks the argument that GMOs help foods gain a greater concentration of nutrients. Without a doubt, GMOs are not beneficial, ergo, foods do not need to be genetically modified.
Overall, the technology of GMOs is very admirable when realizing what scientists are trying to do, but when you look at the various risks and concerns brought up by GMOs, many factors show that foods should not be genetically modified. Risks such as death, cancer, and toxicity increase should not be ignored or deemed as unimportant since GMO foods consequently endanger human health, therefore, say no to GMOs!