Genetically modified corn
Recently, genetic modification is an evolved technique that involves production of foods under the means of genetic engineering. It is a method that constitutes a progress for the humanity, but also development and extension of the traditional breeding techniques. Commercial sale of genetically modified food began in 1994 and the majority of food modifications take place in crops such as soybean, corn, canola and cottonseed oil. The main reason for food modification is the high efficiency and resistance to pathogens and herbicides. However, issues arise mainly due to food safety, regulation, labelling and environmental impacts.
It is useful to examine how genetic modification occurs. The plants that are genetically engineered are generated in a laboratory, where they are subjected in alteration of their genetic makeup and they are examined for desired qualities. The usual modification involves the addition of extra number of genes to a plant's genome. Once plants are produced in the laboratory, the producer requires an approval to field test them. Field testing involves plant cultivation, which if succesfull, then the crop can be grown and marketed.
Despite the potential benefits of genetic modifications, there are claims that support that quality can be affected. More specifically, it is believed that these foods can be potentially unsafe for human consumption and harmful for the environment. That's why a number of studies take place in order for any toxicity of genetically modified crops to be defined. A study that took place lately shows that genetic modification is toxic and unfit for animal and human consumption. Some reasons that blame GMO foods as non safe involve:
- Birth defects in mammals
- Failure in fruit production
- Increase glyphosate levels linked to cancer
- Poor disease resistance
- Poor financial returns for farmers