bio 114 discussion 5 gmos genetically modified organisms

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Discussion Prompt

In preparation for this discussion, please answer the provided questions and research any additional scientifically reliable online or printed resources. Address the following:

  • List and briefly describe at least five general reasons behind creating GMOs. (200 words)
  • List and briefly describe at least five downsides of creating GMOs. (200 words)
  • State and support, with references, your personal opinion on GMO. (150 words)

Respond with 3-5 sentence to the two students post below.

Student Adam Post

There are notable pros and cons to the debate surrounding genetically modified food. Some of the reasons that GMOs were created represent significant upsides. One of the primary benefits behind genetically modified food is they can be resistant to disease. This acts as an insurance policy for farmers who are banking on having a successful crop. If GMOs were not an option, many more crops would die due to disease. Genetic modification can also extend the growing period for certain plants. Many crops have short windows in which they can grow, but genetic modifications can extend this period. These extended growing seasons help farmers and consumers alike, by allowing seasonal fruits and vegetables to be grown for longer periods throughout the year. Another benefit of genetically modified food is it can reduce the need for pesticides. Plants that are modified to reduce their attractiveness to pests can help farmers by saving their harvest, which in turn lowers prices in the market. This brings up another upside of GMOs, which is the overall cost of food. GMOs allow for a greater harvest each season for many plants, which helps keep costs down. By increasing the market availability of fruits and vegetables, consumer pricing ultimately drops. Lastly, GMOs can help with the conservation of wildlife habitats. One of the biggest hurdles that farmers face is their limited availability of crops to grow in certain environments. Genetic modification can help plants grow in circumstances that would otherwise not be ideal, which can prevent the need for deforestation in order to access new growing land.

Although there are many upsides to genetically modified food, there are also downsides as well. Because genetically modified foods are altered to prevent disease, this can lead to stronger diseases in the long run. Antibiotic resistance is a known problem with genetically modified food, and could ultimately pose serious health risks for the world’s population. Another health risk associated with genetically modified food is cancer. Although studies are inconclusive, there are fears that the alterations done to the genetic code of fruits and vegetables could raise one’s risk for certain cancers. In addition to the health risks associated with GMOs, there are also downsides related to consumer knowledge. There are currently few laws in place that regulate the labeling of GM food. This means that consumers are frequently consuming GMOs without even being aware of it. Furthermore, due to the lack of consistent data on GMOs, consumers are also likely unaware that some of it may be less nutritious than its organic counterparts. Finally, animal testing occurs with genetically modified food. Although this is done to ensure its safety for the human population, it is still morally questionable to many, including me.

I think we need to approach genetically modified foods with nuance due to the wide array of costs and benefits associated with them. If I were in charge of the Food and Drug Administration, I would champion continued research into GMOs to maximize the benefits, while also pushing for strict regulation. Consumers deserve to know what they are putting in their bodies, especially with something that could potentially have adverse effects on their health. Carrington College reports that there is a massive increase in the production of food when GMOs are embraced (2013). However, the same report by Carrington College warns against potential health risks, especially in pregnant women (2013). If genetically modified food did not exist, humanity may struggle even more to feed its growing population. However, if proper checks are not put into place, we could be effectively dosing ourselves with a slow-acting poison.

Student Gabriela Post

Anything and everything we consume nowadays most likely have GMOs. Like anything else there are pros and cons with GMOs. I will be briefly discussing some pros to genetically modified organisms. One of the first reasons to create GMOs would be due to the fact that increases the nutritional value as well as increases the enhancement of flavors. Crop protection seems to be a big reason behind the modification. Modifying crops allows them to grow up resistant to diseases. This means that they will not die as quickly and actually be more “appealing” to consumers. This also means that crops would be more tolerable to viruses or insects diseases. GM food would mean that more people would have access to food. Our human population is expected to keep growing and growing, which means that the food demand will just keep increasing. Like I stated before, GM food does not turn bad quickly. This also means a lower cost of food to consumers since there is plenty of GM food. Not only is it cheaper but faster to grow. Genetically modified food can be made to grow in any environment condition as well as be made to have a good tolerance towards any herbicides.

Now, however, I will be discussing some of the cons that come with GMOs. One of the big issues would be that it is relatively new therefore there is still work to be done. Allergies are believed to be linked to GM in foods since lately there have been many cases of food allergies and since GMO is found in many foods now it is believed to the main cause. Antibiotic resistance is another con linked to GM, this will be deadly since it will be much harder to kill bacteria since it will be resistant to antibiotics. The use of GM in certain crops and foods also has a negative impact not just on people but also on the environment. The use of harmful and toxic herbicides and pesticides is definitely not good for human ingesting. Another reason why GM is not as safe would be that it has not been proven safe for human consumption. Like I stated before however it can be found in almost every food. Long-term effects, however, have not been made known. Another concerning thing that should be looked at outcrossing, which would be crops that are meant for animals being transferred to meat or food for human consumption.

Genetically modified food, in my opinion, should be looked at and studied more. I believe GM is something that should be preserved if there was ever to be a shortage of food, or it is seen as a last resort. Food should not be modified, I believe modifying our food is the cause for many health related issues that we are seeing nowadays. This is basically “fake food” that we are putting in our bodies. For example, allergies as I stated in the negative effects of GMOs. Allergies cases have increased greatly, as the CDC states in the article “GMOs: Pros and Cons”, it is said that allergies spiked from “3.4 percent between 1997 and 1999 to 5.1 percent between 2009 and 2011.” Our bodies are not designed to process any fake food, therefore when something is given to us to our bodies doesn’t know it will, of course, react a certain way.

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