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Genetically engineered food: kill or cure?

Genetically engineered food: kill or cure?

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Published by Tom Stone
According to the FDA US Food and Drug Administration, many of the foods that are already common in our diet are obtained from plant varieties that were developed using conventional genetic techniques of breeding and selection. Hybrid corn, nectarines (which are genetically altered peaches), and tangelos (which are a genetic hybrid of a tangerine and grapefruit) are all examples of such breeding and selection.
According to the FDA US Food and Drug Administration, many of the foods that are already common in our diet are obtained from plant varieties that were developed using conventional genetic techniques of breeding and selection. Hybrid corn, nectarines (which are genetically altered peaches), and tangelos (which are a genetic hybrid of a tangerine and grapefruit) are all examples of such breeding and selection.

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Published by: Tom Stone on Oct 28, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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08/14/2010

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Genetically engineered food: kill or cure?According to theFDA US Food and Drug Administration
 
, many of the foods that arealready common in our diet are obtained from plant varieties that were developedusing conventional genetic techniques of breeding and selection. Hybrid corn,nectarines (which are genetically altered peaches), and tangelos (which are agenetic hybrid of a tangerine and grapefruit) are all examples of such breedingand selection. Food products produced through modern methods of biotechnologysuch as recombinant DNA techniques and cell fusion are emerging from researchand development into the marketplace.
Historically, farmers bred plants and animals for thousands of years to produce the desiredtraits. A clear example of this would be the breeding of dogs, ranging from poodles to GreatDanes, or roses from sweet-smelling miniatures to today's long-lasting, but scent-free reds.Selective breeding over time created these wide variations, but the process depended onnature to produce the desired gene. Humans then chose to mate individual animals orplants that carried the particular gene in order to make the desired characteristics morecommon or more pronounced.
Why are they being used?
One reason, according to Global Issues, is that there is a lot of money and profit involved ingenetically engineered food. So, from a business perspective it is more favourable; forexample to produce crops that can be resistant to your pesticides, so that you can applymore of them. If you are a chemical company that produces pesticides as well as GM crops,then this is a good way to sell both products.
Potential benefits
More nutritious foodTastier foodDisease- and drought-resistant plants that require fewer environmental resources(water, fertilizer, etc.)Decreased use of pesticidesIncreased supply of food with reduced cost and longer shelf lifeFaster growing plants and animalsFood with more desirable traits, such as potatoes that absorb less fatwhen friedMedicinal foods that could be used as vaccines or other medications
Potential risks
Modified plants or animals may have genetic changes that are unexpected andharmful.Modified organisms may interbreed with natural organisms and out-compete them,leading to extinction of the original organism or to other unpredictableenvironmental effects.Plants may be less resistant to some pests and more susceptible to others.

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