“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well”-Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own.
So we can see that how food is important for mankind, But in recent years so many people are hungry for the inadequacy of food. That’s why In modern science one of the greatest concentration in the world is GMO to attain the human needs of food!
In this article, we are discussing on GMO foods, but at first, we have to know what actually GMO is! GMO refers mainly a genetic engineering technique in which genes from DNA of one species are extracted and transferred into another DNA of an unrelated plant or animal through laboratory process to reach the goal of human need.
GMO mainly works on developing or changing any particular trait of interest which must have greater control over previous traits. And so we can say that GMO foods are mainly that kind of food who they are modified in molecular level to achieve great production and less risk of contamination.
Tale Of The Origination Of GMO Food :
About many many years ago in ancient time human work on GMO without realizing it.All the development in genetics further helps to elevate genetically modification technique.
- In 1973, Herbert Boyer and Stanley Cohen made the first genetically modified organism. At first, they isolated an antibiotic resistance gene from a bacteria and then inserted it into another bacteria which was not resistant to such antibiotic and observed that the inserted bacteria became resistant to antibiotic Kanamycin.
- In 1974, Rudolf Jaenisch is successful to invent world first transgenic mouse first time. It is the first transgenic animal in the world. The transgenic animal is those who carry a foreign gene that has been deliberately inserted into its genome.
- After 9 years later in 1983 Michael W.bevan, Richard B.Flavell, and Mary-Dell Chilton created first modified plant through the insertion of Agrobacterium with an antibiotic resistance gene into infected Tobacco and after that through tissue culture technique they were able to grow the new plant containing same resistant traits.
- In 90th decade first GMO food produced commercially by Calgene an American multinational agricultural biotechnology, seed, and agrochemical company. They marketed unsuccessful “flavor saver” which is a kind of delayed ripening tomato modified by plant physiologist Athanasios Theologies and it contains bioengineered ACC synthesis gene. It’s also known as CGN-89564-2.
And around at the same time, FDA approved to use bovine somatotropin to increase in milk production in dairy cows.
- In 2000 Swiss scientists developed Golden Rice, A yellow colored rice containing β-carotene, an antioxidant that the body can turn into vitamin A.
Though first GMO animal were the Glofish, A zebrafish, first commercialized GMO animal which is approved for food use is an AquAdvantage Salmon in 2015.
They transferred growth hormone from the Pacific Chinook Salmon and thanks to Ocean pout(an Eel-like fish) who gives promoter to grow the Salmon all the year round instead of only during spring or summer.
In recent days most of the scientists are giving concern on cash crops for transferring genes. About 12 transgenic crops Rice, Corn, Cotton, Potato, Rapeseed, Squash, Beets, Papaya, Flax, and Chicory have been approved for commercial production in the USA.
About Fifty years ago people don’t know how to transfer the gene into specific Genome and what will be the result, will it maintain the heredity or not but now everyone in this field knows the mystery of neoteric different landmarks of the traits due to the alternation of genes.
Some Other Organisms Which Are Genetically Modified Through Circumambulation Of Time:
Normally swine manure contains the high level of phosphorus. Fankenswine(Enviropig) are kind of genetically modified swine those who are containing DNA of mouse and E.coli, for that reason they can digest more Phosphorous and excrete less phosphorous.
As we know phosphorous may hazardous to our environment like if a swine farm builds near water source then the water may contaminate with phosphorus very fast. And phosphorous leads to algae blooms and oxygen depletion that may harmful to marine life.
On the other hand, E.coli produces phytase enzyme, inject it into the fertilized eggs which may contain the progeny and the gene express itself through producing phytase in their salivary gland.
We all know that cattle produce methane more than any other animals because of their different digestive system with the help of some kind of rumen bacteria and methane is the second major greenhouse gas.And so the scientist of the University of Alberta identify the bacteria responsible for producing methane and creates less flatulent cattle which are producing 25% less methane than normal.
Israeli scientist produces featherless chicken, and they are easy to raise and no need to be plucked.After different tests it’s reported that this kind of chicken is not harmful to human moreover they grow fast and their meat contains low fat.
But this kind of chicken has some drawback like the chance of parasitic disease or fungal attack is quite common than normal chicken, on the other hand, they could not easily acclimatize in environmental changes like indigenous.
Another GMO food which gains huge speculation is Bt Brinjal. Once Brinjal was affected by Brinjal shoot and foot borer(subspecies: Lepidopteran).And then scientists gave concentration on it and insert into it a soil-borne bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis which can produce δ-endotoxin under an alkaline condition which may disrupt the midgut of the insect and make the brinjal more insect resistant.So many conspiracies belong to the society that it may also disrupt human guts.But the truth is it will never happen because the human gut is acidic.So Bt brinjal is not harmful at all.
Bangladesh is the first country in South Asia which allows the cultivation of Bt Brinjal despite all controversies. The Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) is set to release total five varieties of these transgenic vegetables in these recent years.
Apple scab and powdery mildew are epidemics in apple cultivation in Europe.They are kind of fungal disease.Apple scab caused by ascomycete fungus Venturia inaequalis and powdery mildew caused by Podosphaera xanthii. But throughout the past decades, the apple is produced with the resistant gene with the help of genetically modification technique in which gene is isolated from a fungus which may able to produce Chitinase.
This enzyme can break down the wall of fungi and make the apples reluctant to such fungal disease. These kinds of apples are approved by FDA and expecting that it’s dominion is not going to decrease in the commercial market for next few year.
Should Be The GMO Foods Accepted Or Rejected?
GMO food is more resistant to insects and other pests than normal foods.University of California at San Diego State reported that toxin bacteria are added to the crops to make them more resistant and pesticide are not required for them which make the crops stronger than others.
This kind of food may yield in poor condition. One farmer may cultivate them in any place and get huge production as their immune system supports them more to resistant with the pest and give them environmental protection.
On the other hand they are helpful for the environment as it is reducing greenhouse gas emissions (by over 10 million tons , which is equivalent to removing 5 million cars from the road each years-British Economist) and protect the soil from erosion and environment from the pollution not only that they are more sustainable for the farmer as to cultivate them less time, tools and chemicals are required.
But the GMO foods contain more nutritive value and increase income. As it may cultivate in less time and in less money so it may decrease the food price moreover it is presenting our new product with a new variety.
In spite of that so many controversies are running up against GMO food. So many reports are gathered by the critics that the GMO food may cause an allergic reaction due to the unrelated protein are added to the organisms which are not indigenous to them.
The safety of GMO foods is questionable as its not 100% environmental friendly because of the substances are still hidden to the scientists used in GM technique. So we can say that it’s not totally safe for the human being.
On the other hand after all that complication GMO may raise some unfamiliar disease. Another anxiety raises for the GMO is cross-pollination as they are undoubtedly resistant to insects and pests, Under this circumstance, GMO may breed superweed due to geniture with normal weeds which may hard to decimate further.
Bottom Line :
After all the arguments GMO may not reach the food values comparing with organic foods or may not ensure the safety of them but GMO is essential for its high production rate and business safety criteria. To avoid it‘s inconvenience the consumer should aware to select their foods and check the license. Contrariwise the authority should be more concern to labeling the food and post-commercialization monitoring is also required in all over the world.