Genetically Modified Food

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DNA technology of the 21st century is rapidly changing and evolving with new technologies emerging all the time. This article will examine the methods and issues surrounding Genetically Modified Food. Genetically modified food is crops that have been altered using genetic engineering, biotechnology and gene technology. Farmers select the best crops possible to suit their needs and genetic engineering allows this to happen. For example, when you cross breed two plants you may end up with one desirable trait and a trait you do not want. These genes are often linked and genetic engineering allows one of these traits to be isolated and reproduced. These crops have been modified to enhance desired traits such as an improved nutritional content and increased resistance to herbicides (Genetically Modified Foods: Harmful or Helpful? D, Whitam). Examples of plants which have been modified include: soybean, corn, canola, squash, potato, chicory, pineapple and strawberries. Ninety eight percent of GM crops are grown in Canada, the USA, Argentina and China. There are many advantages that come with the use of Genetically Modified Food. Firstly, is the increased crop resistance to pests while reducing the use of chemicals. Crop loss due to this issue is devastating to farmers and farmers generally have to use tons of chemical pesticides each year. By growing crops such as the B.t corn (see Appendix) this eliminates the application of pesticides and reduces the cost of bringing a crop to the market. This same idea is applied to the use of herbicides. Cold tolerance is another benefit to GM foods as cold frosts are dangerous to sensitive seedlings. An antifreeze gene has been taken from a cold water fish has been introduced into tobacco and po... ... middle of paper ... ...d benefit from this technology? Who determines this? The labelling and regulation of genetically modified food is a much discussed topic amongst the public. Australia’s regulatory system became enforced in June 2001 after the introduction of the Gene Technology Act 2000. Labels are required for foods where genetic modification has altered the food so it’s nutritional value is outside the average range, the GM produced food has a ‘new factor’ which could cause allergic reactions in some people and when genetic modification raises significant ethical, cultural and religious concerns, regarding the origin of the genetic material. Works Cited http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/genetically_modified_foods?open http://www.csa.com/discoveryguides/gmfood/overview.php http://www.biotechnologyonline.gov.au/foodag/gmlabelling.html

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