Details of Genetic modification and Top 10 GMO crops and their health risks
What is genetic modification?
Genetic modification is an “editing technique”, used to change the desired traits or features in an organism.
Natural selection tends to affect plants that can compete for light, water and nutrients, depend on themselves from being native and disperse their seeds along long distances.
These characteristics interact with the goals of agriculture where farmers want plants to invest as many of their resources as possible into making nutritious, easy to harvest products.
Genetic improvement has been a central pillar of improved agricultural productivity for thousands of years with modern crop variety being not only high yielding and generally more nutritious than wild ancestors. Even with our modern crop varieties continued improvement is quite possible and necessary to meet growing demand.
New characteristics can be introduced into crops using either conventional cross-breeding or genetic modification, GM for short. The characteristics of all living organisms such as size, color and shape are determined by their genes and their interactions with the environment.
With the improvement in our knowledge about which plants gene do you want, because now we know many genes that could contribute in improving sustainable feed production.
In some cases, conventional breeding will be the best way to bring the genes. Cross breeding of crop variety with the plant that contains the gene providing desirable characteristics. In other cases GM, where scientists take a gene and insert directly into crops, might be easier or indeed the only way to be diploid.
History of genetic modification :
The first genetic modification was done by Paul Berg in 1972. He was the first who combined monkey virus SV40 DNA with that of lambda virus.
The first transgenic organism was created in 1973 by Herbert Boyer and Stanley Cohen by inserting antibiotic resistance genes into the plasmid of an Escherichia coli.
The most remarkable thing happened in 1978 when Genentech first produced genetically engineered human insulin.
And from 1994, many genetically modified crops started getting commercial approvals in many countries worldwide but the first approval was granted by Europe.
After then, this technique became more popular all over the world and scientists started practicing them for the human wellbeing, environmental wellbeing and as well as for fixing the faults in gene.
Applications of Genetic modification:
Genetic modification is used in several fields. In the medical field, gene therapy, manufacturing of drugs, creation of model animals, production of life saving hormones like growth hormones, follicle stimulating hormone, human albumin, monoclonal antibodies, antihemophilic factors, vaccines and so one are all produced using genetic modification techniques. Monoclonal, polyclonal antibodies are also produced using GM.
In research areas, GM is used for creating transgenic organisms which are used to study different gene’s function. The study generally involved – loss of function, gain of function, tracking and expression analysis.
In the agricultural sector, GM is widely used in producing insect resistance, herbicide resistance, virus resistance, enhanced nutrition and environmental pressure tolerant variety.
And in industry, GM is used in producing commercial antibiotics, vaccines and so many drugs.
Top 10 GMO crops and their health risks
GMO soybeans enriched with methionine. Methionine is an amino acid which can cause allergic reactions in those who have nut allergy. According to the researchers of York University in England, soon after genetically-modified soybeans were introduced into that country, they reduced soybean allergies 50%.
Genetic modification of Canola:
Canola is a worldwide cultivated crop which is genetically modified as GMO crop. Genetic modification of Canola was successful by lowering the erucic acid content in canola oil and this modification will also increase the amount of oleic acid.
Health concerns linked to oleic acid include:
– Retarded growth (banned in infant formulas)
– Abnormalities in blood platelets
– Damage from free radicals
– Increased risk of developing certain cancer types
GMO zucchini mitigates mosaic viruses; the plants still get infected by other pathogens and symptoms still appear. Exceedingly, zucchini resides vulnerable to several other types of viruses that GMOs offer no protection against.
GM apple can cause harmful effects on the human body like severe allergies and even cancer.
The Bt eggplant uses a gene that produces the Cry1Ac protein as a toxin. Research considering the immunogenicity of the Cry1Ac toxin indicates that-
Cry1Ac protoxin is a potent immunogen.
The protoxin is immunogenic by both the injected and ingested route.
The immune response to the protoxin is not only systemic but also mucosal.
Cry1Ac protoxin binds to surface proteins in the mouse small intestine that’s why it is thought as harmful for human health also by many researchers.
Genetic engineering creates clear genetic compositional changes within maize crops. This is a marked increase in putrescine and especially cadaverine in maize. These substances are potentially toxic, as they enhance the effects of histamine, thus it promotic allergenic reactions.
Some evidence shows that genetically modified corn variety causes severe weakening in unhealthy persons especially those who are already dealing with allergic reactions and sometimes it causes organ disruption.
A new potato has been genetically modified not to show bruising. But an unwelcome side effect has been arising. It increases aminoadipic acid content in the potato, which shows increased risk of diabetes.
Genetically modified triticale used as animal feed, shows many hazardous effects in animals including enlarged lymph nodes, stomach inflammation and diarrhea in piglets and hens.
A research on a GM tomato expressing Bacillus thuringiensis toxin CRYIA (b) was discovered by the immunocytochemical demonstration of in vitro binding of Bt toxin to the caecum/ colon from humans and rhesus monkeys which causes restrictions for selling genetically modified tomatoes in open market.
Are genetic modification Foods Safe to Eat?
According to WHO
Different GM organisms include different genes inserted in numerous ways. this suggests that individual GM foods and their safety should be assessed on a case-by-case basis which it’s uphill to form general statements on the protection of all GM foods.
GM foods currently available on the international market have passed safety assessments and don’t seem to be likely to present risks for human health. additionally, no effects on human health are shown as a results of the consumption of such foods by the overall population within the countries where they need been approved. Continuous application of safety assessments supported the Codex Alimentarius principles and, where appropriate, adequate post market monitoring, should form the idea for ensuring the security of GM foods.