Background Information

Genetic Modification is the process of taking a specific gene from one strand of DNA from an organism and inserting the gene into a different organism. The different organism then would produce the same proteins or trait from the first initial organism. The idea of producing the best crops has been apart of agriculture for hundreds of years, farmers have planted only the best seeds from the most beneficial crop and biotechnology with genetic modification has taken this idea to the next level. In the 1970’s scientist first were able to extract DNA and by 1983 scientist were using this technology with plants. Genetically modified plants and produce started with the concept of pest resistant genes. With genetic modifying you can ‘cut and copy’ one gene/trait to the next organism, so this input is able to make crops more cost effective. Benefits from genetic modifying crops can be less vulnerable to drought, insects/viruses, and are more cost effective with the amount of herbicide being sprayed. After genetically modified crops were available worldwide in 2008 the amount of herbicide sprayed overall had dropped seven percent in the first year. Genetically modifying plants have proven to be beneficial for people in 3rd world countries. Each year over 200 million children are at rick of going blind or dying because of Vitamin A deficiency. With genetic modification scientist were able to fund “Golden Rice”, which is rice that has the exact maize gene that produces beta carotene. In other words for many 3rd world countries where rice is the main food source having Vitamin A implanted into rice gave a percentage of 20–50 percent of the daily requirement for children. Vitamin A deficiency is then prevent all by the modification of rice genes. The misconception of genetically modified foods revolves around it’s labeling. Studies show that consumers with the knowledge of which food is genetically modified will choose the food that is without modification. The United States has the most Genetically modified crops in all of the world. Consumer and some Democrats from Congress has asked for new regulation around labeling of genetically modified foods, but the FDA has said “labeling is misleading to consumers”. Since the FDA has not passed mandatory labeling even with 90 percent of consumers wanting to know if their food is genetically modified or not. In response the public is even more skeptical and uncertain with the genetically modifying biotechnology. Lack of knowledge will only lead to misconceptions in the future of genetic modifying and biotechnology development. Genetically modified food can be the solution to the food shortage that will be upon us, but loss in biodiversity, super-weeds, increase in antibiotic resistance, and food allergies can all be unintended effects. Soy bean allergies has increase in the last 10 years alone. Genetic modification is seen as unnatural compared to its generational plant breeding. The forcing of new genes is truly unnatural and genetically modified foods should have the proper labeling if so.

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