Home > Basics of GM Foods > What are Genetically Modified Foods?

What are Genetically Modified Foods?

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 14 Oct 2016 | comments*Discuss
 
Food Genetically Modified Food

Genetically modified (GM) foods and genetically engineered crops have become a controversial and heated topic over the last several decades, with no likely end to the debate in sight anytime soon. The term itself is used to describe food crops that have been modified through a specific range of techniques, which ultimately give the crops completely new or improved qualities. These qualities could include improved resistance to pests or they may involve increasing the nutritional value of the food.

Understanding Genetically Modified Crops And Foods

For some, the concept of a genetically modified food can seem very unusual, primarily because it is seen as meddling with nature. However, the uses are thought to be beneficial to humans for a number of reasons.

By genetically modifying foods, technologists can insert the gene from one organism into another organism that does not normally carry that gene. The organism's genes may be sourced from one or more other organisms, depending on the desired effects. One example is the use of bacteria. If a specific kind of bacteria had a protein that could eliminate the larvae from insects, the use of genes from this bacteria into a crop can mean that the crop has a natural resistance to that insect. In this way, farmers can reduce costs and improve crop yields by handling pests without having to use toxic pesticides and herbicides.

Getting A Sense Of The Controversy Behind Genetically Modified Food

If you consider the struggles of growing crops each year, only to have all of the farmer's hard work destroyed by uncontrollable pests or weather conditions, you can begin to appreciate how some people strongly support the use of genetically modified food. However, the process is not without controversy.

As you read more about the process of genetic modification, you will begin to learn that the consequences are not always positive ones. When changes are made to an organism, the results are not always completely predictable, which in some cases could cause issues to human health or the health of the environment and delicate ecosystem. For instance, there is the potential for allergies to occur when foods are genetically modified.

If you were severely allergic to peanuts and a gene from peanuts was inserted into an apple, you might eat the apple thinking that there is no allergy issue. Yet, you could suffer from a major immunological reaction as a result of the genetic modification.

On the other side of the issue are those who cite global problems such as poverty. By improving the nutritional quality of a food – for instance, increasing a nutrient in a staple food for a specific country – the idea is that micro nutrient deficiencies can be alleviated. In that same light, others believe that instead of genetic modification, we should be focusing on ways to simply improve access to a broad range of nutritious foods.

Additional issues relating to genetically modified food include the concern that this technology could negatively impact the environment. The bio diversity in the environment is a real issue that could be affected by the production of genetically modified foods.

Issues To Think About

Genetically modified foods have the potential to be many different things but their use and support vary throughout Britain and the rest of the world. One of the most important reasons to think about genetically modified foods is that their production and consumption can affect you – the consumer.

By becoming informed and educated, you can consider all of the different aspects of this issue, which will allow you to make the best political and personal choices regarding the role that genetically modified foods will play in your life.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
still can't decide.. because it has advantages and disadvantages that are still untapped.
RAD - 15-Mar-16 @ 2:20 AM
I only eat GM food, cos im a boss and god will protect me with his never ending love
cccc - 25-May-12 @ 2:50 AM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Jordie
    Re: A Career in Biotechnology
    Great article. I just completed my biotechnology undergraduate degree and am very interested in working with genetically modified (GM)…
    24 November 2020
  • Dr. Ricky
    Re: Ethical Concerns and GM Foods
    I do believe that god created GMO and that you will all feel his wrath open up.
    25 September 2020
  • B307
    Re: A Career in Biotechnology
    What do you need to do with your time in school to pursue a LEGAL career in GMOs
    19 June 2020
  • Your gym teacher
    Re: Fact Sheet: Pros vs Cons
    The FitnessGram™ Pacer Test is a multistage aerobic capacity test that progressively gets more difficult as it continues. The 20 meter…
    13 February 2020
  • EA sports
    Re: Fact Sheet: Pros vs Cons
    Yes yes the flying spaghetti monster is the religious figure we should all follow. Also Mr Plesa Hjelp Oh God we have sent help. help…
    12 February 2020
  • Niy
    Re: Ethical Concerns and GM Foods
    Many people turn controversial arguments around the use of GMOs. I think, even though GMOs have a negative impact on the human…
    31 January 2020
  • srarah
    Re: The Long-term Effects of GM Foods
    THATS ALL SATANISTIC!!! I ONLY EAT GOD FOOD!! DEATH TO GMOOO!!! I DONT SUPPORT SATAN AND HIS EVIL ACTIONS!! HELL FOR EVERY…
    29 August 2019
  • plesa hjelp oh god
    Re: Fact Sheet: Pros vs Cons
    he haas me and i havent been fedc for two weeks i had to eat my leg and my father oh god he has a bat HHUKAKFSSAOKJFR
    9 May 2019
  • Pudgy Donut
    Re: Fact Sheet: Pros vs Cons
    Im squidward ,Im squidward,Im squidward squidward squidward
    9 May 2019
  • achakar andrew
    Re: Ethical Concerns and GM Foods
    My ethical concern is equity between those who use GMOs and those using organic .can those who use gmos be better than others who…
    9 April 2019