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Genetically Modified Foods

Satisfactory Essays
BACKGROUND
According to the UK GM Science Review panel (July 2003), Genetically Modified Foods (GMOs) are foods produced from organisms that have had genetic changes introduced into their DNA in order to obtain desired traits. This technique has a greater control over food's genetic structure than selective breeding and mutation breeding.

With population increasing, there is emerging needs of high productivity methods to feed the population. During the modern agriculture emerged, crop production were improved by genetic breeding methods. GMO history began with Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection. In the theory (Darwin, 1859) it states that plants and animals with strong survival traits live to pass them on to subsequent generations. The idea of the survival of the fittest set the base of introducing desired genes into the DNA. The organism with the most desirable traits could produce high quality seeds for reproduction allowing the strong and desirable traits to be inherited to the next generation.

In 1944, Avery and his colleague identified DNA as the molecular information carrier, providing definitive proof that DNA is the hereditary material (Avery et al., 1944). They confirmed that chemically isolated DNA from the cell possessed the same inheritability as the heat-treated extract. In 1931, Barbara McClintock and Harriet Creighton demonstrated direct physical recombination by examining maize chromosomes microscopically (Coe, E., & Kass, L. B., 2005). McClintock and Creighton’s maize breeding experiments provided the first detailed descriptions of transposable elements. In 1973-1974, Stanley Cohen, Annie Chang and Herbert Boyer of the University of California, San Francisco created the first genetically modified DNA organism (Hughes, 2001). Their laboratory process was designed for joining and replicating DNA from different species. These three major events described the progress from genetically modified technique to actual production.

The first genetically modified food aimed at mass production with a license for human consumption was practiced in 1993 named the Flavr Savr Tomato (Hiatt B, et al., 1992). The genetic altered process was designed to slow the ripening process of the tomato and prevent it from softening in a short time period, while still allowing the tomato to retain its natural color and flavor for consuming purpose. The Flavr Savr tomato has a longer shelf life than conventional tomatoes. It only lasted for a few years before its production cease in 1997. Later, the Flavr Savr Tomato was acquired by Monsanto Company.

According to International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) (2012), genetically modified foods were mass produced to commercialize in 1996.
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