Genetically modified organisms are also known as GMOs, genetically engineered, or genetically modified food and have been discussed for several decades. Some people stress that genetically engineered crops can help humanity to address famines or the lack of food in some regions. Others argue that GMOs can negatively affect people’s health. Both opponents and proponents agree that the issue is still under-researched (Robinson, Antoniou, & Fagan, 2015). These foods have been in place for only a few decades, which makes it difficult to explore their long-term effects. This paper provides a definition of GMOs as well as some health outcomes associated with their use.
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Several definitions of the term exist. It is possible to focus on the major peculiarities of GMOs to develop a comprehensive definition. Genetically modified food can be defined as the food that has been produced via the insertion of a foreign gene (or several genes) into its genetic code (Nodoushani, Sintay, & Stewart, 2015). The inserted genes can be taken from plants or animals. The major goal of the creation of these foods is the development of species that are resistant to negative environments and are highly productive. This objective seems to be sufficient to make the practice universally accepted. Nevertheless, GMOs are still regarded as dangerous and suspicious.
One of the reasons for such views is related to various studies that reveal the negative effects of GMOs on people’s health. Opponents of the use of genetically modified foods emphasize that their genetic codes are transformed, so it can be hard to predict the way these genetic modifications will affect people’s health (Robinson et al., 2015). Many studies involving animals show that the consumption of GMOs can cause significant changes at different levels including genetic mutations. For example, Robinson et al. (2015) mention the research that focused on sheep consuming GMOs. These animals developed some liver disorders while their lambs had a transformed composition of liver genetic codes. Such information is quite alarming as people can also have various disorders or even new patterns in the development of digestive and other systems.
Some researchers associate the consumption of GMOs with the growing health issue associated with increased body weight. Obesity is often regarded as a pandemic as many or even the majority of people living in the western world suffer from this disease. Another health concern is the development of allergies that are regarded as the plague of the 21st century (Robinson et al., 2015). People’s systems are not accustomed to such foods, which results in allergic reactions. Finally, it is also stressed that genetically engineered food often has a decreased nutritional value, which contributes to the increase in the number of overweight people.
In conclusion, it is possible to state that genetically modified organisms are created through the insertion of genes of other species into their genetic codes. Although genetically engineered organisms are associated with an increased amount of food, many people stress that they can have negative effects on people’s health. Obesity, allergies, and even genetic transformations can be a result of the consumption of GMOs. At that, all people agree that further research is needed to understand whether genetically modified foods can be used. Perhaps, in the near future, researchers will be able to answer numerous questions that are still left without answers. Until then, people are likely to consume GMOs as the production of these foods is growing rapidly.
Nodoushani, O., Sintay, J., & Stewart, C. (2015). Genetically engineered food and genetically modified organisms. Competition Forum, 13(1), 136-141.
Robinson, C., Antoniou, M., & Fagan, J. (2015). GMO myths and truths: A citizen’s guide to the evidence on the safety and efficacy of genetically modified crops and foods (3rd ed.). London, England: Chelsea Green Publishing.
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