Looking at how our technology is developing, we are constantly looking for new solutions to improve our lives. One such idea is GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms), which has the same number of supporters and opponents. It is worth getting closer to the question of what exactly GMO is and whether it can harm us.
GMO – definition
It is worth noting at the beginning that the idea of creating plants that have specific, beneficial features has been around for a very long time. However, it is a very lengthy process that can take up to 15 years. In turn, genetic engineering allows you to speed up this process enormously by using a small number of genes. Transgenic plants are those that have been transformed by genetic recombination. This can be achieved by adding a gene that is not found naturally in the plant or by modifying an existing one. A given protein that is encoded in a gene will give some specific function.
This technology can be used in many different cases:
- abiotic stress – various situations such as drought, extreme temperature or salinity
- biotic stress – insects and pathogens that can adversely affect the development of a given plant
Of course, this is a very specific and demanding process to achieve a certain result. In this case, we will mainly talk about the food issue. There are several important points that GMO promoters want to achieve.
Increasing the nutritional content of food
In many countries, there is a huge problem not only with obtaining food but also with its quality. Of course, this is not terrible for us. We have great choices of what we want to eat and we can easily check whether a product is healthy for us or not. GMO’s task is to fight this by appropriately modifying various products. One of the most interesting projects is “golden rice” – this is a special type of rice that has beta-carotene, which will be converted into vitamin A in our body. He gained the name because of its yellow colour. Despite the fact that this is an interesting project, there is still a lot of controversy about it that badly affects how GMO is perceived
Increasing food production
Very often, the biggest problem is not that food doesn’t have a lot of nutritional value. A much bigger issue is that there are often no conditions for growing anything. Various crops often face the problem of pathogens, parasites or insects. The task of GMOs is to reduce the effect of abiotic and biotic stress through appropriate modification of plants
Is GMO safe?
As you can guess, there is no simple answer to this question. There are many articles on this page from each page and it is sometimes difficult to know which page is right. There are special bodies around the world that are trying to see if what we eat is healthy, such as “The European Food Safety Authority.” There have been many studies showing that GMOs are not harmful to us. It is worth noting that genetically modified crops have been consumed by hundreds of millions of people around the world for over 15 years and no side effects have been recorded (there were no legal issues related to this topic). Interestingly, in the United States, this topic is much easier considered by the population compared to Europe
As you can see at first glance, GMO seems to be an interesting solution to many of the problems faced by the humanity of the third world. However, there are also many predictions that in the future people in developed countries will also face the problem of lack of access to food. There is a very good chance that GMOs will be a salvation for many countries, but at the moment it is very difficult to determine whether this will really be the only solution and whether something new will be created to fight food shortages.