The modern field of genetic medicine began in the 1950s when scientists started to learn how to modify organisms to promote their health and longevity. Today, there are hundreds of genetically modified plants and animals being produced globally. According to a 2021 report by The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) at the University of Minnesota Libraries, these transgenic crops require strict regulations on production, distribution, sale, processing, transport, storage, handling, use and disposal (National Academies Press). These laws and policies apply not only to the creation of GMO seeds but also to the transportation of seeds from place to place. However, genetic modification can also be used to improve food quality. For example, it could provide an alternative to using pesticides, herbicides, or other chemicals with the goal of improving agricultural productivity. But, this technology can pose risks for people and animals and should be used responsibly by governments and individuals.
What Are GMOs And Why Do We Need Them?
Genetically modified organisms refer to all of the DNA, genes, proteins, and other components that constitute our cells. In fact, we have more than 9% of the human genetic code. By altering or manipulating genes to help us improve or enhance certain aspects of life such as immunity, fertility, and muscle strength, researchers may have discovered some ways to cure diseases or treat conditions that once appeared incurable. Scientists first developed the idea of modifying DNA in 1953, which led them to believe that they had accomplished something significant. Since then, several scientific breakthroughs have allowed them to engineer living things, including mammals, fish, insects, birds, and humans. There are multiple types of GM foods that are currently available to consumers. They include corn, soybeans, cotton, vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, and onions, fruit like berries and avocados, herbs, and spices. Some GM foods can be consumed by humans without any changes to their diet. Others could be manufactured into medical products and pharmaceuticals that do not need further alteration. Despite its beneficial uses, many people still worry about the possible effects of creating new living beings. Although the majority of people agree that it is safe to use them now, there are concerns that they may soon become extinct due to natural disasters and climate change. Even though biotechnology is one of the fastest-growing fields of science over the last few decades, it remains extremely complex and controversial. It requires constant review and approval before being legally used to create new substances, which raises ethical issues and concerns over safety and public trust. As seen above, scientists must go through extensive research before establishing that their intended results outweigh the risks involved. This process allows them to make sure that the intended outcomes have not been affected. Finally, every year, new innovations push the boundaries of modern biology and genetics, making it harder to track who is exploiting these advances. At present, around 7% of the world's population is genetically engineered, according to data collected by CSPI at the Universities of Wisconsin, San Diego, and Washington State, while roughly 20% are genetically modified crops and 14% are agricultural animals (National Academy Press).
What Impact Will Genetic Engineering Have On Our Health?
By changing the genetic makeup of plants and animals, scientists may be able to eliminate harmful toxins that have been affecting human health. Also, genetic modification could lead to new medicines and vaccines. Research indicates that by 2050, 100 million people would be living in parts where no GMO has yet been approved. A 2020 report by U.S. News & World Report predicts that this number will rise to 120 million by 2030. So far, the biggest impact of GM technology in medicine is related to reducing antibiotic resistance. Researchers have found strains of bacteria with gene mutations that allow them to survive and develop antibiotic resistance, which is common in hospitals. Through genome editing, scientists have discovered gene codes for enzymes necessary for producing drugs in particular. Click here to Read More...