Genetically Engineered Food - Essay Example

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Genetic engineering has been bringing its technological and scientific advances in various areas, such as pharmaceuticals, agriculture and food sector among others. Genetic modification is the process of transferring specific information artificially from one type of organism to another. …
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The GM foods are plants whose genetic characteristics have been altered. Scientists introduce new material, to achieve desire characteristics, into them genetically such as a bacterium capable of resisting pesticides. Presently production can be enhanced without resorting to the use of this technology. Therefore, the reasons for genetic modification are mainly based on commercial and political while ignoring health and nutrition and the serious potential dangers that may involve its application. This paper attempts to explore the causes of genetically modifying crops, a brief history, pros and cons of applying the genetic engineering technology for the development of desired food crops along with the regulatory mechanism involved in the introduction of such food in the market. So the basic aim behind this research is that it is assumed that the genetically modified food is something imposed on to the consumers without letting them realize this truth by poorly regulating its labeling mechanisms. . Genetically engineered food crops grown in U.S include bananas, cocoa beans, corn, pineapples, potatoes, soy bean, strawberries, sugar cane, sweet peppers, tomatoes, yellow squash and Zucchini while the ingredients (transgenic substances) most common and to consider when reading a food label are soy lecithin, textured vegetable protein, textured soy protein, dextrose, hydrogenated vegetable oil, emulsifier - soy protein isolate and soy flour. Currently most of the products contain soy base or soybean lecithin, and are usually hidden. (Edward, 2008). Procedure and genes Involved The development of genetically engineered foods has been achieved hitherto by incorporating features such as resistance to pests, herbicides, adverse temperatures, etc. These GM foods are derived from cross-linking of genes from different species. Transgenic living beings are obtained by the introduction of additional genetic information into the genome of the species. A process similar to that carried out by some types of virus, by introducing certain molecules in the cells, and causing them to infect producing new virus i.e. genetic mutation (Whitman, 2000). In fact, one of the most frequently used techniques for the modification of plants involves using genetic material of a virus or bacteria to obtain the incorporation of new genetic material into the host organism. The plants are genetically modified to incorporate three different genes: an antibiotic resistance gene, an insecticide resistance gene and a gene causing herbicide resistance. The antibiotic resistance gene is a gene that allows marking in the selection process in the laboratory, thus differentiating individuals that have been modified from those which have not been. This gene information traditionally incorporates ampicillin resistance, along with other antibiotics used in human medicine. Currently this technique is being modified for use as a natural antibiotic marker and does not pose a pharmacological principle. The insecticide resistant gene is the foundation of transgenic plants. Plant incorporates information to generate a toxin called Bt toxin, which eliminates parasitic insects that are subjected to modification of the crop. The herbicide resistance gene is sometimes used as a marker and also as modified crop value. This allows greater use of herbicides to kill pests without affecting the cultivated plant (Whitman, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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