Genetically modified foods are foods produced from organisms that have had specific changes (adding, deleting, changing segments) introduced into their DNA using the methods of genetic engineering.(King 2009) So they could produce desirable traits or eliminate undesirable traits, a process that enables transfer of genes between different species that would not interbreed in nature. 1983 marked the first ever transgenic plant. This was a tobacco plant that was created with antibiotic resistant properties. The first commercially grown genetically modified food crop was a tomato plant in California. The decomposition process was modified and resulted in a slower decomposition. This plant was known as ‘FlavrSavr’.
Before genetically modifying foods to improve them, plants and animals were crossbred. This involved taking a plant/animal with the desired properties and breeding them to ensure the next generation had these qualities too.
Figure 1. shows an example of crossbreeding.
Figure 2 shows an example of genetic modification in crops.
Genetic modification really took off in 2000 when scientists discovered that the modification process could be used to enrich foods i.e. add nutrients and vitamins. This would mean endless possibilities for the future of our food. A particular food source that was lacking a certain nutrient could now be altered and given the nutrient it needs.
Crops such as rice maize corn – to name a few – would benefit greatly from this technology. Such as the ‘FlavrSavr’ tomatoes mentioned previous these crops can also benefit from their decomposition process being slowed down.
Even though there are so many positives and potential for GM foods, there is one thing that is holding them back, ...
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Miles, S., Frewer (2001) 'Investigating specific concerns about different foodhazards—higher and lower order attributes. .', Food Quality and Preference, 12, 47–61.
U.N. (1987) 'Our Common Future', The classic definition of sustainable development established by the U.N. Brundtland Commission,
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