Tomatoes, soy beans and McDonald’s French fries- what all of these things have in common? They are all some of the most commonly genetically modified foods on the market today. With scientists in the race to invent newer and better everythings, genetically modified organisms, or “GMOs” have become a hot topic of research in just the past 10 years. By using the genetic information from one organism, or the “DNA” and splicing it with the DNA of another, scientists can make food crops grow bigger, stay fresh longer, or even create their own pesticides. In this case however, and often with any case involving genetic modification, the technology has exceeded the practicality of this innovation. Genetically modified foods have no place in everyday agriculture because of the threat they pose to humans, the environment, and the future of traditional agriculture.
Plants have been genetically manipulated for thousands of years. Even in the earliest cases of civilized agriculture, people saved seeds of high yielding crops to replant each season (Shannon 1999). Lately, however, with genetic engineering being the hottest and most controversial side of science, many companies such as biotech are now tampering with food crops to get results that the early farmers could have never imagined.
This seems to be scientific child’s play in comparison to all of the recent media attention the cloning of sheep and even human cloning has received. Much of this genetic experimentation with the cloning of mammals and similar species can be linked to a high stakes game of chicken, where scientists are trying to do more and more daring things before people actually take the final step and clone a human. Likewise ...
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... foods will be toxic after they are produced other than trial and error, making humans experimental ginnie pigs. The world has enough food in circulation and does not need more food or more efficient food. This science is best left to mystery for the sake of our bodies, as well as our environment.
1. Shannon, T. Genetic engineering. Westport, Conneticut: Greenwood Press; 1999.
2. Cherfas, J. Man-made life: an overview of the science, technology, and commerce of genetic engineering. New York: Pantheon Books; 1982.
3. Lappe, M. Broken code: the exploitation of DNA. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books; 1984.
4. Pollack, A. We can engineer nature. But should we? The New York Times. 2000 Feb 6: A3.
5. Jacobs, P. Cornucopia of biotech foods awaits labeling. L.A. Times. 200 Jan 31: C1
6. Genes and development [Scientific journal]. Vol 11, Number 16: 1999
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