Genetically Modified Food Essays

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Genetically Engineered Food Over the Last Ten Essay

Words: 2308 Length: 7 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 6757825

Genetically Engineered Food

Over the last ten to fifteen years, the presence of genetically modified foods in grocery stores and homes has increased exponentially. This emergence of genetically modified foods has impacted many different details of human life, including in the areas of farming, research, fertility, the environment, and pharmaceuticals, just to name a few. However, there remains strong opposition to the use of this technology in foods that will be consumed by humans, because long-term affects are unknown and the introduction of a genetically modified organism into the environment could have widespread and unforeseen consequences. Perhaps most dangerous of all, however, is the amount of disinformation and fear which surrounds the issue of genetically modified food, because this prevents the public from assessing the dangers accurately and effectively. When the risks are assessed from an objective, reasonable perspective, having cut through the excited public chatter concerning genetically modified foods, it becomes clear that while genetically modified foods likely do not pose a sever threat to humans, the potential for environmental disruption is severe, and thus any future expansion of genetically modified foods must be monitored for its potential environmental impact.

As mentioned above, the public discourse surrounding genetically modified foods is both intense and somewhat misguided, because there are too many groups with a vested interest in arguing for or against the safety of genetically modified foods for there to be a reasonable, equitable discussion. On the one hand are producers of genetically modified foods, who obviously stand to benefit if the production and consumption of these foods increases, and on the other hand are media organizations who directly benefit from the fear of genetically modified foods, because fear is almost always the best motivator in terms of getting people to watch the news. In the midst of this din, the academic and scientific discussion of genetically modified foods has been drowned out, so it will be necessary to dismantle these hyperbolic claims from either side if one hopes to effectively analyze the potential threats and benefits of genetically modified foods.

When considering corporations who stand to benefit from the expansion of genetically modified foods, there is not a lot of mystery concerning their motives and tactics, as businesses and trade organizations will always lobby for their own best monetary interest regardless of the safety of their…… [Read More]

Goldman, Karen A. "Labeling of Genetically Modified Foods: Legal and Scientific Issues."

Georgetown International Environmental Law Review 12.3 (2000): 717-60.
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GMO Food the Process of Genetic Modification Essay

Words: 1436 Length: 4 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 9756512

GMO Food

The process of genetic modification of an organism

Genetic modification of an organism is the process by which the genes of an organism are altered to introduce useful genes that are believed to help it to grow and thrive in any given condition. The genes contain DNA, a basic building block of all living organisms that is responsible for the presence or absence of certain traits or characteristics and modification of these genes creates new traits in the plants.

The genetic modification of a crop begins with the isolation of genes that are proved to have certain characteristics so that the same traits can be induced in other crops. The next step is to insert the gene into another crop and the most common technique is through a process called recombinant DNA that transfers the genes through the plasmids. Particle bombardment is another technique used to transfer the gene to another plant. Once this is done, the different plant cells are monitored to identify the modified ones from the original cells. The transformed cells are used to create new plants through tissue cultures under controlled environmental conditions. The growth is monitored to check if the plant exhibits the new characteristics and finally, it is tested for performance and safety before it is released into the market (African Biosafety Network of Expertise, 2010).

Pros and cons of the process of genetic modification

When GMO technology was introduced in 1970s, the idea was to create crops that would grow in harsh conditions and provide abundant food for the growing human population. During the last three decades, unfortunately, none of those have taken place. Only two kinds of crops were produced -- herbicide resistant and pesticide resistant crops and both these crops have only been successful in boosting the profits of companies involved in GMO crops.

The advantages of genetically modified foods is their increased resistance to pests, herbicides and diseases. They are in a better position to thrive in places that could not support these plants in their natural…… [Read More]

Works Cited:
Organic Consumers Organization. (2012). Millions against Monsanto. Retrieved from:

Institute of Responsible Technology. (no date). State-of-the-Science on the health risks of genetically modified foods. Retrieved from: 
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GMO Genetically Modified Organisms Essay

Words: 3252 Length: 11 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 81194621

Genetically Modified Organisms Technology

GMO Gentically Modified Organisms

A Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) is any organism that has had its genetic makeup altered by humans Ahmed, 2002.

The organism could be an animal, plant, or microorganism. The changing of the genetic code could involve subtracting, adding, or altering. All these changes could be from the same species or different species, which would give the organism characteristics that it does not have normally. GMO technology is widely used for scientific research and in the production of foods and goods. A GMO results from the laboratory process of extracting genes from the DNA of a species and forcing the genes into an unrelated plant or animal's genes. The foreign genes come from viruses, bacteria, animals, insects, or even humans. GMOs allow for the production of organisms with desired biological traits or favor the expression of some desired traits. Conventional crop farming, livestock production, and pet breeding have involved the practice of select breeding in order to produce offspring's with desirable traits. Genetic modification employs technology to produce organism that have their genomes altered in a precise manner at the molecular level. This process involves the introduction of genes from unrelated species, which would not be possible using conventional breeding.

The scientific methods used in the production of GMOs are reproductive cloning and recombinant DNA technology. In order to reproduce offspring with the same genetics as the parent one would use reproductive cloning technology. This involves the transfer of the entire donor's nucleus into the host egg's enucleated cytoplasm. Dolly was the first animal to be born using this technology in 1996. Recombinant DNA technology involves inserting one or more individual genes of a particular organism into the DNA of another. The two organisms are not necessarily from the same species.

Reproductive cloning

According to Bowring (2004)

Reproductive cloning is the deliberate production of organisms with the same genetic as the parent. In this case, each of the genetically produced organisms would be a clone of the original. The most common techniques used for cloning is Somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT). This involves transferring the nucleus of a body cell to an egg, which has its nucleus removed. This would produce a clonal embryo that needs electricity or chemical triggers in order for it to begin developing. Placing the cloned embryo in the uterus…… [Read More]

Ahmed, F.E. (2002). Detection of genetically modified organisms in foods. TRENDS in Biotechnology, 20(5), 215-223.

Bowring, F. (2004). Therapeutic and reproductive cloning: a critique. Social Science & Medicine, 58(2), 401-409.
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GMO the United States Is Essay

Words: 1150 Length: 4 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 22186135

This toxin is currently used as a conventional insecticide in agriculture and is safe for human consumption," (WHO 2010). This begs the question: if the "toxin" is safe, then why is it called a toxin? With similar grim irony, biotechnology companies are inserting viruses and bacteria into plants too. Theoretically, these alterations to the genetic structure of the plant are "safe," but there have been no longitudinal studies showing that introducing toxins, bacteria, and viruses into the food chain deliberately will have net positive effects. As of now, "no effects on human health have been shown as a result of the consumption of such foods by the general population in the countries where they have been approved," (WHO 2010). The effects on human DNA have yet to be seen. Clearly the impetus to alter plant genes is a financial one. Increasing crop yields is code for improving profits.

In a thorough article on genetically modified crops, the Green Facts organization (2005) summarizes data from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). According to the report, some fifty "authoritative independent scientific assessments from around the world" have deemed genetically modified foods as safe to eat, using "appropriate" research methodologies. The author does not define what parameters are used to qualify the research as either "independent" or as "appropriate," and the consumer is supposed to take the FAO's word for it.

The recurring argument in pro-GMO literature is that "to date no adverse effects have been observed," (Green Facts 2005). Of course, this statement has been issued only a generation after genetically modified foods have been consumed by human beings, so it is truly impossible to know what effects might result from continued ingestion and infiltration of the food chain. In fact, the authors admit that "the possibility of long-term effects from genetically modified plants cannot be excluded…… [Read More]

Green Facts (2005). Scientific Facts on Genetically Modified Crops. Retrieved online: 

WebMD (n.d.). Are Biotech Foods Safe to Eat? Retrieved online:
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GMO - Genetically Modified Organisms Essay

Words: 324 Length: 1 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 18912903

Furthermore, these crops could exhaust soil to such a degree that no more crops could be developed there, and thus contribute to rather than alleviate the problem of world hunger.

Another problem cited by opponents is the danger to biodiversity that might be created by GMO's. Genetically modifying foods may have a negative impact on the environment by destroying biodiversity, according to this group. Proponents however argue that biodiversity is encouraged rather than destroyed by genetic engineering. Indeed, they place it in the same category with modifications that have been brought about in nature itself in order to adjust to different environments, or by human beings in the past.

Biological engineering is a very controversial issue, and it appears that it will remain so for a long time, even while the field grows and develops beyond attempts to stop it.… [Read More]

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GMO Food Security Essay

Words: 1720 Length: 5 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 91499281


There are many different controversies with respect to food, among them issues about long-run food security, about different health issues related to food including added salt and trans-fats, or on the positive side the value of highly-nutritious superfoods. But probably the biggest subject of public debate with respect to food these days relates to GMOs, or genetically-modified organisms. They are almost always banned in Europe, but in the U.S. not only are they not banned, but they are not labelled, and they make up a significant portion of the food supply. Some estimates place the amount of processed food containing a GMO crop at around 80% in the United States, the most common being high fructose corn syrup, corn starch, canola oil and soy products (UC, 2012). This paper will argue that genetically modified foods should be labeled, in order to allow consumers to make up their own minds about whether they want to ingest such products or not.

Longitudinal Studies

One of the arguments in favor of taking a cautious approach, which labeling represents, is that nobody really knows what the health outcomes of genetically-modified foods are. Advocates of genetic modification have argued that there are no demonstrated negative health outcomes from eating genetically-modified foods (Entine, 2014). This is a logical fallacy, known as illicit negative, in that a positive conclusion cannot derive from a negative premise. In other words, just because negative health effects have not been proven does not mean that they do not exist. There are doubtless many sources in scientific literature showing studies of short-term effects of GMO consumption, but the reality is that there is not a single longitudinal study to demonstrate the safety of GMO foods. The reason for that is simple -- the first GMO food sold only came market in 1994 (Martineau, 2001). Twenty years is not enough time to prove that consumption of GMO foods over one's lifetime, including in childhood, will not cause health problems in later years. The people making this argument, it is…… [Read More]

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Genetically Modified Crops Foods and Hormones Essay

Words: 1866 Length: 5 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 2795548

This is only in the case whereby protein introduced possesses allergenic properties and is introduced to the edible part of the particular plant. Due to the difficulty of predicting allergens, there should be careful selection in gene donors so as to avoid widespread consequences.

Bacteria in the digestive tracts can pick up antibiotic resistant genes present in genetically modified foods and it may bring about an increase in the problem of bacteria adapting to antibiotics. It is believed that the dispersal of pollen and seeds from genetically modified crops to other crops and the surrounding environment might result in genetic and biological pollution bringing about a new breed of genetically engineered organisms which will lead to unknown problems. This pollution will eventually spread to the soil and eventually make every plant genetically modified.


Genetically modified foods are seen as a means of solving the problem of food security and hunger in the world. Lack of food is only part of the reason why there is food shortage. There are other contributing factors, such as the availability of farming land and land tenure systems, wars etc., which should be taken into account. The long-term effects of consumption of genetically modified foods should be studied into full before being marketed.… [Read More]

Works Cited:
GM foods. (2002). Retrieved on April 9, 2010 from sumptionpros.html

Halford, N.G., & Shewry, P.R. (2000). Genetically modified crops: methodology, benefits, regulation and public concerns. Retrieved on April 11, 2010, from 
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Genetically Modified GM Crops Specifically Essay

Words: 2025 Length: 6 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 50893239

For example, if birds feed on seeds and a certain variety of insect, without the seeds, the birds may disappear, and the insects would then overpopulate the area.

In addition, the cost of GM crops is initially high to the farmer. These seeds cost much more to develop and test, and so, they are much more costly to the farmer. They might benefit Third World agriculture in many ways, but few Third World farmers could possibly afford the increased cost of these seeds, and so, they would not be available to a majority of the people that need them the most. Cost is an important factor in the continued growth of GM crops, and so, manufacturers must eventually address the cost of these seeds, and reduce the cost so that more people can afford to plant them.

While no study has found GM food to be harmful to humans, opponents say it is too soon to be sure. GM crops have not been on the market for that long, and often, foods and nutrients have extremely long-term affects on the human body, not showing up for years or even decades. More long-term studies need to be developed that will track GM crops and foods, so scientists fully understand just what types of implications they have for human health.

The public has a very negative perception of GM crops, and in many areas, they have been banned entirely. The Goldsteins state, "In Europe, particularly Great Britain, large numbers of people have supported a ban of GMOs. Grocery stores are refusing to carry foods containing GMOs" (Goldstein & Goldstein, 2002, p. 235). Their outcry has become so severe that many farmers will not plant GM crops, because they fear they will be sabotaged by GM activists, or they will not be able to sell their crops when they are ready for market.

In conclusion, GM crops still face controversy, and they should still face scrutiny by scientists, researchers, and the public. Author Toke continues, "At…… [Read More]

Black, Richard. 2004, 'Study Finds Benefits in GM Crops.' [Online]. Available at

Editors. 2005, 'Genetically Modified Foods.' World Health Organization. [Online]. Available at
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In Favor of Genetically Modified Crops Essay

Words: 1822 Length: 7 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 73074903

Genetically Modified Crops

Genetically modified (GM) food has generated considerable interest and controversy in the United States and around the world (University of Richmond, 2004). Proponents applaud the vast benefits of technology while opponents argue that environmental and food safety issues outweigh the benefits. This paper provides background information regarding the genetically modified crops in an attempt to show that they are a benefit to society.

The appearance of GM food products in the marketplace has resulted in a great deal of public debate, scientific discussion, and media coverage (SCOPE, 2004). A variety of concerns go hand in hand with the new advances enabled by genetic modification. However, the possibilities presented by GM crops cannot be overshadowed by these concerns.

Crop varieties developed by genetic engineering were first introduced for commercial use in 1996 (University of Richmond, 2004). Today, these crops are grown on more than 167 million acres worldwide. American farmers are the largest producers of GM crops. The United States comprises nearly two-thirds of all biotechnology crops planted around the world. GM crops grown by U.S. farmers include corn, cotton, soybeans, canola, squash, and papaya. Other major producers of GM crops are Argentina, Canada, Brazil, China and South Africa.

Recent breakthroughs in biotechnology have given scientists the ability to select specific genes from one organism and introduce them into another to provide a desired trait (University of Richmond, 2004). This technology is used to produce new varieties of plants or animals faster than traditional breeding methods and to introduce traits that are impossible through traditional techniques.

The main agricultural biotechnology products seen so far have been GM crops designed to tolerate herbicides and resist pests (University of Richmond, 2004). Crops carrying herbicide-tolerant genes were created so that farmers could spray their fields to eliminate weeds without ruining crops. Similarly, pest-resistant crops have been engineered to contain a gene for a protein…… [Read More]

Dibb, Susan. Mayer, Sue. (April, 2000). Biotech - The next generation: Good for whose health? The Food Commission (UK) Ltd. And GeneWatch UK. Retrieved from the Internet at:

Reuters News Service. (July 6, 2000). GM Crops Safe, Offer Consumer Benefits. Retrieved from the Internet at:
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Are GMO a Solution to Feeding 9 Billion Essay

Words: 1668 Length: 4 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 6275290

GMO Crops

There are many aspects to the GMO food debate, and one of the major ones is the idea that GMO foods are essential to feeding a global population that is expected to top out at 9 billion people. The amount of arable land is not growing, and indeed climate-change induced desertification and declining supplies of fresh water are probably decreasing the amount of arable land worldwide. GMO foods -- which have usually been modified so that they are resistant to pesticides or deliver higher yields -- are often promoted as a solution to the perceived coming global hunger crisis (Charles et al., 2010). In particular, GMO foods are promoted as a means of closing the yield gap -- Western nations utilizing modern agricultural techniques tend to have higher yields that nations with more traditional agricultural systems.

Feeding Nine Billion

If the world's population is expected to plateau around nine billion, that implies a 70-100% increase in food production, given that many of these people will be lifted out of poverty during the next few decades (Charles et al., 2010). One of the problems with this argument is that it is a red herring. Food production is not the issue; food distribution is the issue. Globally, agricultural production is sufficient to feed the world's current population. In both high and low income countries, albeit for different reasons, there is a tremendous amount of food waste, which represents an inefficiency in our food system that could help make better use of existing agricultural capacity (Gustavsson, 2011). The United Nations estimates that around one-third of global food supply is wasted -- enough to take us from 7 billion people to 9 billion comfortably (Marotte, 2013). Between eliminating waste and using conventional cross-breeding methodologies alone, food security can be achieved.

A classic anecdotal argument is that food aid from the West is under scrutiny as a means of helping alleviate famine because of its GMO content, and that this is wrong (Zerbe, 2004). It is all well and good to point to some starving Africans and decry the application of Western views on GMOs to people that are starving; it is also about as cynical as it gets, leveraging somebody's else's suffering to promote an agenda. Our food system…… [Read More]

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Benefits and Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods or Organisms Essay

Words: 2177 Length: 6 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 61352608


The introduction and use of genetically modified or engineered foods or organisms have attracted attention, mostly alarmed in recent years (WHO 2014). These foods are manufactured from organisms by artificially altering or engineering their DNA for nutrition purposes. This is done by infusing an edible plant gene into the organisms for immediate and ultimate purposes. One is to optimize production and increase the resistance to plant disease while tolerating the harmful effects of herbicides. Another is to extract them from genetically modified or GM microorganisms or animals for future use. Still another object or prospect is to alter the nutrients themselves in foods in order to control or prevent allergies they cause (WHO).

The target of the United Nations Organization's Millennium Development goals is to cut down the proportion of hunger this year into half (World Hunger Education Service, 2015). The proportion was to pull down the figure from 23.4% in 1990 to 11.7% in 1992. But as of last year, the rate of hungry people was 14.5%. Despite the reduction, the target was not likely to be achieved this year. From 991 million, the number went down to 790 million against the target of 497 million, or half of 994 million (World Hunger Education Service).

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization reported that about 805 million people in the current 7.3 billion in the world are chronically undernourished (World Hunger Education Service, 2015). Almost all of them live in developing countries, which account for 13.5% of the world population today. Most recent statistics say that hunger rates are highest at in sub-Saharan Africa at 23.8%, where one out of four persons is undernourished. Hunger rates are also high in Southeast Asian countries India, Pakistan and Bangladesh where 276 million are recently reported as undernourished (World Hunger Education Service).


The first FDA-approved GMOs or genetically modified or engineered organisms as food were corn, rice, canola oil and soybeans in the mid-1990s (Hennessey, 2015). Large companies like Monsanto, Nestle, General Mills and PepsiCo found the production of…… [Read More]