Environment And The Use Of GMO Bad For Consumers Essay

¶ … Environmental Risk of GMO The environmental risk of genetically-modified organisms (GMO) is a controversial topic that has been addressed in peer-reviewed journals by researchers, some of whom claim there is a high-risk to GMO (Seralini et al., 2012) and some of whom claim there is no discernible risk (Tien Huy, 2013). This paper will compare and contrast the two risk perceptions in two articles, identify the environmental stressors that are related to the environmental risk, and conclude with a discussion of my own risk perception of GMO.

The risk perception of GMO on the environment is high according to the study by Seralini et al. (2012), in which is shown that the results of a 2-year study of rats that were fed Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize indicated a direct link between the GM corn and death: "In females, all treated groups died 2-3 times more than controls, and more rapidly" (Seralini et al., 2012, p. 4221). Male rats fed GM corn were 4 times more likely to develop "large palpable tumors than controls which occurred up to 600 days earlier" (Seralini et al., 2012, p. 4221). The study also found a link between a diet of genetically modified organisms and chronic kidney failure in both sexes of rats. It concluded by explaining the outcome: the Roundup-resistant corn severely disrupted the endocrine system. The rats also suffered from an "overexpression of the transgene in the GMO and its metabolic consequences" (Seralini et al., 2012, p. 4221). Seralini et al. thus argued that genetically modified foods posed a direct environmental health threat to consumers of such products. The scientists asserted that GMO poisoning could be likened to "environmental pollution" (p. 4222).

Seralini et al. clearly show that the environmental stressor in their study is the genetically-manipulated maize. However, in a follow-up analysis of the study,...

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in their study, which threw off the findings of the researchers so as to make them illegitimate. Tien and Huy, for instance, asserted that the rat strain "has been known to be prone to cancer during their lifetime, especially when they get aged ... thus, the use of this rat strain had made the comparison of tumor occurrence in aged rats difficult and unclear" (p. 443). In other words, Tien and Huy argued that the control specimen was defective from the beginning and prone to cancer, a point which would skew the study and make it self-fulfilling.
Secondly, Tien and Huy stated that the study conducted by Seralini et al. also suffered from too small of a control group -- another stressor. They indicated that the study should have had a control "to figure out which factors cause tumor and deaths in the experimental rats" (p. 443). They claim that the control size used by the researchers was insufficient to really establish any legitimate connection between GMO and death in the consumer.

Tien and Huy (2013) also argue that the evidence given by Seralini et al. contradicted itself in that some rats lived longer on higher doses of Roundup-resistant GMO than those who consumed lower doses (p. 444). They also noted that another study conducted by Snell et al. in 2012 showed that GMO had no such dangerous effects at all. After stating these arguments, Tien and Huy called for the editor of the journal to issue a retraction of the study.

The two articles are comparable in the fact that both focus on the environmental risk of genetically-manipulated food organisms in a world in which the debate over…

Sources Used in Documents:

References

Seralini, G., Clair, E., Mesnage, R., et al. (2012). Long-term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 50(11): 4221-4231.

Tien, D., Huy, H. (2013). Comments on 'Long-term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize'. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 53(3): 443-444.


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