Not just speaking for the sake of humans but also standing up for the plant community, it can be said that GMO foods possess a variety of disadvantages that surpass the benefits they provide. Some believe that they can be life-saving in the long run, while others argue that they might be causing the tragedy in the first place. But well, who knows? Let’s take a sneak-peek into the life of GMOs and the potential threats they may pose.
Genetically modified foods are produced by externally inducing changes in the DNA of the living organisms following the methods of genetic engineering. Initially, these methods were used on cash crops to increase the production and make them resistant to pathogens and herbicide. But lately, they are being used for other purposes too. There have been concerns regarding the environmental impact they cause and concerning food safety.
Science and technology have been making their roots stronger in the field of Genetics and plants have played a leading role in fulfilling that dream. Almost 85% of US’s corn is genetically modified to make them resistant to a variety of herbicides. Even soy is massively produced using genetic engineering to compensate for LDL cholesterol. Besides producing zucchini, alfalfa and sugar beets, even milk was found to be of improved quality if produced using methods of genetic engineering. Cows are fed with a recombinant growth hormone to produce high-quality milk. Since, rapeseeds have taken over the market producing oil and acting as a renewable resource, genetic engineering has taken the lead there as well.
Safety and health risks involving genetically modified foods is a heavily debated controversy. There was a prevailing dispute that tumors developed due to a certain herbicide and rats were the main target. Not just that, but there are debates going on regarding the depletion of the autonomy practiced in agricultural fields, especially in developing countries like India. There have been concerns regarding the foods that have been sustaining us till date and that GMOs are gradually destroying the biodiversity and its natural nutrient profile. Though surrounded with doubts and rejection, GMOs are supposed to be the messiah in curing the hunger issue in the world in the long run. Including insect-resistance quality and with improved nutrition, they might just be the right light-bearer or not!
GMOs don’t just provide high-quality crops but also lead to birth of super-bugs and super-weeds. Also the methods used to pest-proof the crops are pretty much harmful for small useful insects like bees and butterflies. Cross pollination involving GM crops causes the regular crops to turn into hybrids and destroys their natural genetic profile. Not just the plants, but farming, which supports majority of the people as a means of livelihood in the world, has also been affected and has taken a path of depression over the years. Farmers are hand tied and helpless. This has led to a steep increase in the suicide rates in some countries.
GMOs produce very stable genes that might be or not be able to produce good long-term effects. With the evolution of highly efficient bugs and weeds, it might just cause another set of serious problems in the long run.
But keeping aside all the opinions, good or bad, the best thing that could be done is to carry on as much research in the area as possible for the best results, without compromising the balance of the biodiversity. Proper monitoring and control should be the main focus.
What is your take on genetically modified foods? Do share your opinion in the comments section below.