Genetically Modified Foods

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Most foods in the United States have become genetically modified over the years, in fact, experts say that 60- 70% of processed foods on U.S. grocery store shelves have genetically modified(GM) ingredients. (Web MD, 2013) Due to the fact that the US is the leading producer in these genetically modified crops, there is a large amount of controversy surrounding whether or not these things are safe. Some of these concerns are that not many people really know what they are, why they have been modified, if it is safe to consume these products, and how they actually modify the ingredients to these foods. However, many people often assume things and make false arguments without doing research on the topic of genetically modified foods in the first place.
Genetically modified foods, according to the Food and Drug Administration, are foods with genetic material that has been altered in such a way that does not occur naturally. The government chooses to produce and sell these products because they have some specified benefit to them that differs from food to food. (WHO, int., 2014) The original idea of growing plants centered around genetically modified organisms was to appeal to farmers by improving crop protection. One form of this protection is insect resistance, which is done by giving a crop the gene for toxin production from the BT (Bacillus thuringiensis) bacterium. This bacteria is added because not only does it act as an insecticide, but it is also safe for human consumption. Seed developers also must add in certain bacterium to crops in order to make them tougher and more virus resistant. These additives can make plants stronger against diseases, producing higher crop yields. Lastly, herbicide tolerance is often added so that d...

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...nherited normally, tests are run to check the amount of copies of the gene that have been inserted, if they are intact, and whether or not other genes are being unintentionally affected, and they also must test gene expression to check the functionality of the gene. In the greenhouse, developers then test whether or not the modified plant has the new trait and has not developed any undesirable characteristics, and if they pass they are then planted into the field for even more testing. They start out being planted in confined field trials to assure that the expressed gene works in the actual field, and if these tests are passed they move into multilocation environmental trials. If a GM crop can survive all of these tests then it is considered for commercial production. The safety tests take place during the time that the plant performance testing is taking place.

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