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Genetically modified organisms: really a necessity?

A mother's arms are more comforting than anyone else's.
On this occasion of Mother’s Day, Our team would like you to take out your time and say thanks to the Mother Nature…The Mother who has given us everything and it’s time to have a look what we did to her…Let’s open our eyes and take a pledge to keep our Mother Nature Healthy and Happy!
GMO…Well this is a term that always pops up in my mind whenever I plan to eat something healthy. Me being a health freak, prefer fruits and juices over cola and sodas. I like to drink coffee shakes, banana shake, mango shake and many more. But, whenever I go to market to buy any fruit, like others, I like to pick up those fruits or vegetables that have no or fewer marks or the ones that are shiny from outside. According to an English Idiom- “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover ”
Well, that is true in the relative case which I am sharing with you here, Here is a reference to the above mentioned metamorphical phrase, After a hectic day in office, I went to the market to buy some fruits including Apples, Oranges & Banana, Now, the prices of fruits are always almost high! Huh! Damn, they dig a hole in my pocket, but that doesn’t matter as it is about my health, so Banana costing nearabout 40 Rs. a Dozen, Apples cheapest available in the market cost around 150 Rs. half Kg. and Oranges were around 50 Rs. I suppose. I bought each of them for almost similar prices as bargaining didn’t helped me much there with the vendors. As soon as I was back to my room, I washed an apple and grabbed a bit of it in my mouth, what happened next amazed me! The shiny wine red colored apple, was full of small black spots. I was so scared, I threw it out of my mouth immediately and then with the help of dust pan I threw it in my dustbin, without even have a second look on it.
This was quite shocking incident for me and since then I became very careful while purchasing fruits or vegetables. I shared this incident with you because we humans are not much concerned about these things and hence we do not posses much knowledge about this stuff, as we have other important things too. So, lets take out our time here and get some knowledge about the stuff which we are intaking on a daily basis-Fruits, or we can say Food, as genetic engineering is not limited to fruits only.
What is a GMO? Are GM Foods necessary?
Genetically Modified Organisms abbreviated as GMOs or we can say GMFs i.e. Genetically Modified Foods or Genetically Engineered Foods. A GMO is a laboratory process of taking genes from one species and inserting them into another in an attempt to obtain a desired trait or characteristic.
Genetic engineering is a technique which allows the interbreeding of natural organisms and get some mixture of traits from both  the breeds. It is majorly tested on Plants and Animals, which does not leaves a good impression as these testing techniques hamper our Environment to some extent. Instead, this technique enable scientists to create plants, animals and other micro-organisms by manipulating their genes in a different yet unnatural way.
These days, Genetic Engineering is playing a vital role in many different sectors especially in Medical  & Research Sector, similar as that of the Food Industry. As per the basic definition from the common Internet (which most of us use) Source: Wikipedia, GMFs are considered to be the foods produced from organisms that have had changes introduced into their DNA using the methods of genetic engineering.
Genetically modified foods are often promoted as the way to feed the world. In order to justify this I would like to mention that according to 2008 The World Bank report, it concluded that increased biofuel production is the major cause of the increase in food prices. Biofuels basically refers to the crops grown for fuel rather than food. And as per my knowledge, increased prices can never result in feeding the World. If it is about yields, then I would like to share another important information here as this technique has not increased the yield potential of any commercialized crops. In fact, studies show that the most widely grown GM crops, one of them is Soya which has suffered reduced yields in the past years.
Effects of GM Foods on our health:
 
GM Technique is basically a gene-splicing technique which is implicated by recombinant DNA technology. Recombinant DNA also known as rDNA molecules are formed by laboratory methods of genetic recombination like molecular cloning.
As per the guidelines of American Academy of Environmental Medicine, it shows that the consumption of GM foods can also lead to infertility, immune dysfunction, accelerating aging, problems with cholesterol synthesis, insulin regulation, cell signaling and protein formation, as well as causing adverse changes in the liver, kidney, spleen and gastrointestinal system. Not only this but it has also been linked with allergies, various digestive and bowel syndromes and even autism in humans.
The basic reason we should be concerned about GMOs is because, various feeding studies in animals have also resulted in tumors, damaged immune systems, smaller brains, livers, birth defects, reproductive problems and infertility.
 
Effects of GM Foods on our Environment:
 
The entire procedure of making a GM Crop, it requires a greater use of pesticides as compared to conventional food crops. And pesticides are not good for our health, we all have known thisfor quite a long time.
Crops are first being genetically engineered as “Roundup Ready” so they can resist extensive spraying with the toxic pesticide, which doesn’t breaks down in the environment easily, and after this, it eventually ends up in our(consumers) hands. New super weeds and super bugs are becoming Roundup resistant, and that is the reason much stronger pesticides are being used in the entire process. The built-in pesticides found in genetically engineered crops may be largely responsible for the dying off of many insects, including honey bees and Monarch butterflies. As, In this technique, plants are engineered to be insect resistant (IR). Sections of the DNA from the bacteria known as Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt)are isolated and inserted into the plant cells by a process known as genetic transformation. The regenerated plant contains the Bt toxin in its cells. When the plant is eaten by any insect, then the toxin binds to receptors in the insect's gut, which causes the gut wall to break down and allowing toxin spores and normal gut bacteria to enter the body. As spores and bacteria proliferate in the body, the insect eventually dies.
 
Not only this, but plants are also engineered to be herbicide tolerant (HT), and in this technique micro-organisms are identified that are tolerant of the active chemical in the herbicide. In the case of glyphosate which is considered to be an active ingredient in Roundup, glyphosate-resistant enzymes are isolated from a strain of Agrobacterium(Agrobacterium is a genus of Gram-negative bacteria which uses horizontal gene transfer to cause tumors in plants.). These are inserted into the genes of the plant via a multi-step process resulting in a plant that can resist the direct application of the herbicide. Not only the bacteria genes themselves are toxic upto a great extenst, but the plants can be sprayed directly with herbicides, which absorbs the poison and the same gets delivered to markets and then reaches to us.
 
“The promise was that you could use less chemicals and produce a greater yield. But let me tell you none of this is true.” – Bill Christison, President of the US National Family Farm Coalition
 
And in today’s scenario, Approximately 90% of all products on supermarket shelves contain GMO ingredients, some of them are: soy, cotton, canola, sugar beets, corn and many more
 
Adding to it, I would also like to mention that this technique is a raw, unprocessed and an inexplicit way of incorporating foreign genetic material taken from viruses, bacteria,etc. into crops, with dubious consequences.
 
Do we want the same for us? Let’s imagine, if GM technique could do this to the small insects or those animals over which it was tested a couple of times, or just once, resulted in such kind of output, then what it can do to the bodies who consume it on a daily basis??? This is a question to ask, not to anyone else, but to ourselves! Because, as consumers, we have the right to know what is being put in our food, or what is being put in our body?
 
Buy Organic whenever possible, but do not just got for the labels, take a step for yourself and go beyond the curtains! Go to an organic farm, know how the product which you are eating is prepared and processed, being a consumer, It’s your Right!
 


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