GMO: to Be or Not to Be
Genetically modified organisms (GMO) are created by means of genetic engineering methods. Genetic engineering is a science that allows people place DNA fragments into the genome of plant, animal or microorganism from any other body and give them certain properties.
For example, tomatoes possess frost resistance gene from the Arctic flounder, potatoes have a bacteria gene, whose venom is deadly for the Colorado potato beetle, rice feature a human gene that is responsible for the ingredients of breast milk, which makes the cereal more nutritious.
Experimental creation of genetically modified organisms began in the 70s of the 20th century. In 1992 in China they began to grow tobacco that was resistant to pesticides. In 1994, genetically modified tomatoes that were resistant to transportation appeared in the USA. Since that time, the production of GMOs was gaining momentum. As a result, now we have GM soy, corn, rice, potatoes, tomatoes, canola, sugar beets, wheat, peas, sunflower, papaya, cotton, tobacco, cows with high fat content of milk, salmon that can live both in salt and fresh water, as well as many other products.
Still, growing and consuming genetically modified organisms is accompanied by several risks. Environmentalists fear that genetically modified forms may accidentally penetrate into the wild, which will inevitably lead to catastrophic changes in all ecosystems.
For example, cross-pollinated weeds can get a GM-gene of resistance to pests and pesticides. Then, the multiplication of weeds will be uncontrollable. Self-regulation in ecosystems will be destroyed. Weeds will displace many species that are unable to compete with them and occupy large areas, which will be constantly expanding.
In addition to the environmental risks, associated with the problems of cultivation of GMOs, there are dietary risks. Consuming of a transgenic products, recieved after transplantation of Brazil nut’s gene into the DNA of soybean, caused many people have allergic reactions to protein. Plant varieties that are resistant to pesticides can accumulate harmful substances and cause poisoning when consumed.