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Hunger and Health; Potentials and Pitfalls of Genetically Modified Organisms.

The earth is a beautiful blue sphere that has been inhabited for the past 3.5 billion years. Since that time there have been many different forms of life leading to homo sapiens that developed around 100, 000 years ago. (PBS, WGBH Educational Foundation) Current projections show that by 2025 there will be over 8,000,000,000 of us. In 1961 the world population was 3.081 billion. In 2006 it was 6.593 billion, an increase of 114.0% in just under 50 years. Over the same period the total amount of arable land (i.e. the land upon which cereals are grown; excludes lower quality grazing land) globally increased from 1.281 billion hectares to 1.411 billion hectares, an increase of only 10.1% in the same period.(Land Commodities Asset Managment AG) The lack of land that is able to be used to produce crops is a growing issue as the world population continues to grow. This loss comes from many different causes; one cause of farmland loss is related to the growth of metropolitan areas and the urbanization of farmland. It also has been related to solutions that man has tried to use to help with the growing population. This is in part related to that as metropolitan centers continue to grow they expand onto lands that are highly fertile as these are part of what made these areas found where they did to begin with. As these cities have grown and undergone industrial revolutions they have begun to rely more and more on large massive supply chains that can be heavily impacted by natural disasters. With land to grow crops on land that is becoming increasingly scarce and less nutrient filled finding crops to grow on this soil is becoming just as challenging. Thanks to advances in technology we have been able to manufacture crops that are resistant to drought, insects, invasive species, and weeds. These modified crops are referred to as Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) and are not simply limited to crops. This technology has also made its way into several other industries that provide meat and materials that are regularly consumed by humans. There are many different points about GMOs, both good and bad, which strike a chord amongst many people around the world. Our hope is that you will take the many different sources and arguments presented here and decide for yourself if this technology could help prevent our civilization from tipping over the edge into a global famine and sacrificing our planet's limited resources. Can GMOs solve the shortage of food? by John Carden

There are both pros and cons to GMOs. One good thing about GMOs is that it is making it possible to feed the masses of people. GMOs make this possible because the produce and the meat that we are genetically modifying are allowing fruits and vegetables to grow without the worry of pest problems. Genetically Modified Foods allow chickens to be injected with hormones, thus doubling their size so more meat is produced. These statistics are good in the sense that we are feeding more mouths, but the nutritional value in them are not what they should be. Many fruits and vegetables at the grocery store have been modified to the point of no nutrients but they have also been marked cheaper. While organic food is more expensive, it is worth the extra money due to the way in which it is grown, and the nutrients that it still possesses. The debate on whether or not conventional farming which uses new technological ways, including the use of GMOs, of yielding crops or organic farming has been an ongoing debate for years. Both groups are trying to push why they are more important than the other and how they will solve the food shortage problem. The word organic is common enough that a large proportion of people know what it means. We know that it is supposed to be healthier for us, and we know that when we go to the grocery store where organic products are sold that the price is almost double that of other conventional products. So which would you prefer? An apple that was grown with the use of chemicals and pesticides, aided along with genetically modified growth hormones that allow it to grow large and round and gives the ideal look of an apple but deprived of nutrients? Or an apple grown with fertilizer where no pesticides were used and grows naturally with all the nutrients still present? It seems like an easy choice, but right now most people are choosing the first apple. Going back to the question of How will GMOs solve the shortage of food?. This question is continuously being debated on. An article in the Huffington Post discusses this issue. It states that Biotechnology companies are hoping that by producing GMO foods, this might result in solutions to world hunger and malnutrition. Golden Rice is an example in this article on how GMO foods can solve world hunger. There has been a development of genetically engineered golden rice which has genes from viruses and daffodils put into its genetic instructions. The outcome of this rice which has a golden-yellow color to it, giving it the name, produces betacarotene. The body converts beta-carotene into Vitamin A. -- Nearly a million children die every year because they are weakened by Vitamin A deficiencies and an additional 350,000 go blind. Golden rice, said Time, will be a godsend for the half of humanity that depends on rice for its major staple. Merely eating this rice could prevent blindness and death. (Robbins)

Even Michael Pollan, who is a well known author of The Omnivores Dilemma states the aim of this audacious new advertising campaign is to impale people like me -- well-off firstworlders dubious about genetically engineered food -- on the horns of a moral dilemma ... If we don't get over our queasiness about eating genetically modified food, kids in the third world will go blind. (Pollan) But since the development of this golden rice, a few things have been brought to our attention. Golden rice wont grow in the kinds of soil that will benefit those who are starving across the world. In order for this rice to grow properly, the soil must have heavy use of fertilizers and pesticides. Both of which are very expensive and wouldnt be possible for those people who need it the most. The rice also needs large sums of water for it to grow, and this might not be possible for those in starving parts of the world to provide for it. They have also discovered that golden rice doesnt work the way it was being advertised. People who are malnourished arent able to absorb Vitamin A through the rice. --And even if they could, they'd have to eat an awful lot of the stuff. An 11-year-old boy would have to eat 27 bowls of golden rice a day in order to satisfy his minimum requirement for the vitamin (Robbins) One of the biggest problems with world hunger is the money these people have. These biotechnology companies arent developing these GMOs just to give them away. The people around the world who are malnourished and starving, cant afford to buy the seeds, and if they could, they cant afford the fertilizers, pesticides, and water to grow the seeds. The lack of money these people have is the result of the lack of food to survive. Amazing Life of Corn by Goran Rogonjic Its hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel for GMO regulations. Trying to comprehend the feeling that GMO is going to take over, but on the second thought it already has taken over our planet. It has now practically impacted our lives and the whole aspect of survival, and our food in every direction. Today, Americans are increasingly asking where does our food come from? When people ask where does our food come from, it is a sign of concern (Food Inc. Film). Corn is considered to be the most resourceful plant in the word. Ninety different chemicals can be produced from corn and that is just the beginning. Corn has gone thru so many facelifts, at this point it is unrecognizable. We are all familiar with High Fructose Corn Syrup under our ingredients. Corn is the great raw material. You get that big fat kernel of starch and you can break that down and reassemble it in a lab, any way you want to. You can make high-fructose corn syrup. You can make maltodextrin (polysaccharide that is used as a food additive) and

diglycerides (diglycerides are fats) and xanthan gum (Food additive, stabilizer modifier) and ascorbic acid (synthetic vitamin c). All those obscure ingredient and more are made from corn. Plus, you can feed it to animals. Corn is the main component in feed ingredient whether it's chicken, hogs, cattle-- you name it. Increasingly, we're feeding the corn to the fish whether we're eating the tilapia or the farmed salmon. We're teaching fish how to eat corn. The fact that we had so much cheap corn really allowed us to drive down the price of meat. I mean, the average American is eating over 200 lbs of meat per person per year. That wouldn't be possible had we not fed them this diet of cheap grain. Since you're selling corn at below the price of production, the feedlot business can buy corn at a fraction of what it costs to grow, so that why all the animal are sucked off of all the farms in the Midwest. There is a web of roads and train tracks all around the country moving corn from where it's being grown Cows are not designed by evolution to eat corn. They're designed by evolution to eat grass. And the only reason we feed them corn is because corn is really cheap, also corn makes them fat quickly. The animals evolved on consuming grass. There's some research that indicates that a high-corn diet results in E. coli that are acid-resistant. These acid-resistant would be the more harmful E. coli. Escherichia coli is a anaerobic, rod-shaped bacterium that is commonly found in the lower intestine of warm-blooded organisms. Most E. coli strains are harmless, but some serotypes can cause serious food poisoning in their hosts, and are occasionally responsible for product recalls due to food contamination. The harmless strains are part of the normal flora of the gut, and can benefit their hosts by producing vitamin K2, and preventing colonization of the intestine with pathogenic bacteria. A few strains including E. Coli 0157:h7 are deadly and will cause numerous malfunctions in a living host. So you feed corn to cattle and E. coli, which is a very common bug, evolves, a certain mutation occurs, and a strain called the "E. coli 0157:h7 appears on national and international meat market. It's a product of the diet we're feeding cattle on feedlots, and it's a product of feedlot life. Yes, that manure am talking about. The animals stand ankle deep in their manure all day long. The lush green meadow of Swiss Alps are now only dreams and fantasies. So if one cow has it, the other cows will get it. When they get to the slaughterhouse their hides are caked and covered with manure. If the slaughterhouse is slaughtering 400 animals an hour, how do you keep that manure from getting onto those carcasses? Now thats how the manure gets in the meat. This thing that wasn't in the world before is in the food system. Food industry and slaughterhouses are aware of this problem. E. Coli 0157:h7 is really hard to kill off. Solution for now is to use bleach on all processed mead that sells in every American fast food restaurant.

Thirty percent of our land base is being planted to corn. We have had over ten major E Coli outbreaks in the past decade just from meat. Five days of grass fed cattle and all the E coli bacteria would be gone out of its digesting system. Contrasting Scientific Opinions by James Andersen and Jessica Taggart One solution to stopping GMOs from hurting the American people is to increase the amount of testing. If testing on GMOs would increase then Americans would better understand the health risks associated with them. Tests that are done on GMOs will need to be done by researchers other than Monsanto. In 2010 researchers published a study through US National Center for Biotechnology Information which concluded that Americans need to have a third party test the GMOs and see what is happening to the test subjects. The tests need to be longer than 90 days and they need to be done on more than just rats. The tests also need to be better put together and more thought out. They need to test every kind of GMO and have the test be unbiased (Vendmois, Et al,2010, p.4). After the tests have been done the researchers that have done the tests need to make it nationally known. The possible outcomes of getting these test done is the American people would be able to tell the government how they feel about GMO. The American people would be able to better their health, future and the environment because they know about GMOs. The American people have a right to be heard about what they will and will not put in their bodies. These tests will help them better understand what is being put in their bodies. While researches are suggesting that there is enough data to support the use of GMO's, there are some who still believe that they are harmful. There are many reasons people distrust genetically modified crops and the peer review process can sometimes cloud the issue. Damaging news can often be taken out of context. An example of this is Gilles-Eric Seralinis study published in 2012 which found that genetically modified corn caused cancer in rats. However the Reed Elsevier's Food and Chemical Toxicology journal, which published the study, later withdrew it from public record, citing serious defects in design and methodology (Kellend). Its tough to address such a damaging claim, even after the science has pointed us in another direction. One of the problems with viewing the subject objectively stems from the industrialized nature of food production. We, understandably, have a wary attitude towards the megalithic industrial complexs motivations. It has often proven that it will place profitability above other concerns, including public health. This easily explains the outpouring of negative perceptions regarding GMOs. The problem is that this distrust, and the emotions surrounding it, cloud the objective evaluation of GMOs potential to resolve our imminent food and feed production issues. It is fortunate that we have scientists evaluating the technology from an objective perspective. As they continue to produce peer reviewed literature

which documents the benefits and pitfalls of the technology, we will have more data with which to evaluate its effectiveness. Perhaps, as more of this data comes to light, consumers will have the opportunity to more accurately determine the value of these products. There is a non-profit organization that is called the Non-GMO Project which hopes to raise public awareness of GMOs. They want Americans to know what they are putting in their bodies and what GMOs are doing to them, the future, and the environment. If more people started becoming aware of GMOs and the effects that they have, then they could go and tell more people about them and then it would just magnify how many people know about GMOs. The best way for someone to want to learn more about GMOs is if the government required the food companies label the food that has GMOs in them. If labeling started, then more people would be curious about what the little stamp on their food meant that said NON-GMO. Possible outcomes for using this solution is that consumers could be prompted to look up GMO and want to learn more about them. It is important for everyone to be informed about GMOs because we are producing them at an unprecedented rate. The concern is that unregulated products making their way into our food supply will inevitably result in long term health problems for consumers down the road. Even the experts are looking at how to monitor the amount of GMO content in our food supply. The reason for the concern is the justified, considering that for every acre of GMO crop harvested in 1996, there are 94 GMO acres harvested today. Given this explosion of available food, it is going to become impossible to keep GMOs out of the food supply. Because of the potential for significant percentages of our food supply to contain undetected genetically modified strains, the current methods for measuring and detecting these organisms within our food are not going to be sufficient. (McHughen, Alan, and Smyth ) Additionally there will be so much food to test that an entire regulation industry may have to be built around the belief that anything genetically modified is inherently bad for human consumption. Is all of this scrutiny necessary? Explaining the current regulatory system for all new crops helps to shed light on how a GM strain makes it into circulation. Companies who produce new GMOs go through the same process of approval that a crop which has been bred for selective traits goes through. The reason that this process existed before GMOs is that breeding for selective traits can lead to an organism that might have too many allergens or toxins. Because GMOs are subject to the same rules as newly bred strains, every GMO crop used today has undergone screening by the FDA. In order to be certified by the FDA any new strain has to be tested thoroughly by the organisms

producer. These tests break the organism down to its chemical contents. They then compile a report based on the findings which is submitted to the FDA for approval. (Broeders, Sylvia, Sigrid, Keersmaecker, and Roosens) Because these reports look at the actual chemical composition of the organism they are deemed to be sufficient for GMOs, just like they have been sufficient for other new crops. Between 2001 and 2011 over seventeen hundred peer reviewed scientific papers which have been published on the topic of GMOs. Recently, a panel of scientists reviewed all of this research in order determine the health and environmental risks that GMOs presented. After reviewing all of this research they concluded that the scientific research conducted so far has not detected any significant hazard directly connected with the use of GM crops (Nicolia et all, 78). It is obvious from these findings that the scientific community is deeply invested in objectively and comprehensively understanding genetically modified crops. Other Uses for GMOs by Joshua Loyens Regulation in industry is incredibly important but even more so when the product starts to drastically change. With about half of the United States farmlands using genetically modified organisms it is no surprise that their would be more than one just general use. The basic variates can include benefits for insect resistance, flavor and nutrition, and drought resistance to name a few of the common uses, according to an article written by Carey Gillamp; but what about other possibilities? Currently there is a crop that has been modified for one of these alternative purposes. (Pollack, Andrew) The future of GMO's could possibly benefit from this type of innovation. With new ideas though, comes the probable issues that will arise. Genetically modified organisms are truly a remarkable scientific feat and their future has the chance of growing beyond their originally intended uses. According to an article by Andrew Pollack, a type of corn modified to make it easier to convert the crop into ethanol was approved. This isn't necessarily new, in fact it's been around for some years now. Straightforward economics tell us, though, that cheaper, easier to manufacture fuel alternatives leads to an alternate, competitive energy source. This strain of corn produces eight percent more Ethanol and, in recent years, up to forty percent of the corn grown in the United States is used for ethanol production. (Pollack, Andrew). This is a prime example of how exactly genetically modified organism can be beneficial. Which is where the downside of a crop that is designed to be made into non-edible crop comes in: what happens when it spreads where unwanted? It would only take one modified kernel in a group of ten thousand un-modified to ruin the consumability of it. (Pollack, Andrew). In the year 2000 there was a crop that had not been cleared for human consumption tagged StarLight that

had spread unknowingly. Thousands of crops had to be recalled as a result of this inedible product breaking out of its defined barriers. The possible, adverse effects that these modified plants needs to be taken into account. If solutions like this type of corn were to become more prevalent in the future there would need to be some guideline, though since so few studies have been done, no official evidence currently helps draw a bottom line. To encourage this type of growth there would also have to be research in cross pollination patterns and on the adverse effects that happens between GMO crops and non-GMO crops. This would open the door to a stigmatized technology that otherwise would otherwise be inaccessible to possible innovators. Outside of basic food production it is shown that there are other possibilities for GMO growth. This can translate into answers for a variety of problems that we have now or may arise down the line. If more research is done more doors can open up the chance of innovation. Who knows what other conquests that scientists may find themselves on when traveling the path of a GMO brightened future; we only have to research it. Conclusion As a whole the discussion of the use of GMOs for food or other purposes is one that will likely continue for several years to come. Current government regulations and screening techniques are working to catch up to the recent explosion of new GMOs entering the market in the past decade. As the worlds population continues to grow the scientific data and research about possible benefits and impacts of these crops will need to continue and increase its pace in order to allow us to use this technology to help feed our species. Public opinion is one thing that we will need to continue to address as their reputation has gone through many changes over the years. As the divergence between public and scientific opinions widens dual climates of opinion can develop since media coverage of controversial issues tends to be consonant and cumulative (Nesbitt, Shanahan and Brossard). The impact of media and other informative sources have the ability change the public opinion for both positive or negative. As the information and research continues to change hopefully this powerful resource can work both for and against changing public opinion about GMOs for human consumption and other uses. What we have hopefully convey to you through this report is that GMOs have many possibilities to help the whole planet economically, environmentally, politically, and socially. This growth however needs to be balanced, however with efficient and through scientific research in order to ensure that we are not creating problems for ourselves and future generations of humans on our blue oasis in the cosmos.

Works Cited Bessin, Ric. "Bt-CORN: WHAT IT IS AND HOW IT WORKS." Bt-Corn: What It Is and How It Works. University of Kentucky, 1 Jan. 2004. Web. 27 Feb. 2014. Broeders, Sylvia R. M., Sigrid C. J. De Keersmaecker, and Nancy H. C. Roosens. "How To Deal With The Upcoming Challenges In GMO Detection In Food And Feed." Journal Of Biomedicine & Biotechnology 2012.(2012): 1-11. Academic Search Premier. Web. 8 Feb. 2014. Gillam, Carey. "U.S. GMO Crops Show Mix of Benefits, Concerns." Reuters. Thomson Reuters, 24 Feb. 2014. Web. 24 Feb. 2014. Halweil, Brian. "Can Organic Farming Feed Us All?" World Watch Magazine May/June 2006. Kelland , Kate. "Controversial GMO Study By Gilles-Eric Seralini Retracted." Reuters. 28 Nov 2013: n. page. Web. 1 Feb. 2014. <>. Land Commodities Asset Managment AG. Farmland Investment Report 2009. Commodities Report. Switzerland: Land Commodities Asset Managment AG, 2009. McHughen, Alan, and Smyth. "US regulatory system for genetically modified [genetically modified organism (GMO), rDNA or transgenic] crop cultivars." Plant Biotechnology Journal. 2008.6 (2008): 2-12. Print. <doi: 10.1111/j.1467-7652.2007.00300.&xgt;. Nesbitt, T Clint, James Shanahan and Dominique Brossard. The Public, the Media and Agricultural Biotechnology. Wallingford, 2007. PBS, WGBH Educational Foundation. evolution library. 2001. 15 2 2014 <>. Pollack, Andrew. "U.S. Approves Corn Modified for Ethanol." The New York Times. The New York Times, 11 Feb. 2011. Web. 27 Feb. 2014. Pollan, Micheal. "A natural history of four meals." Pollan, Micheal. The Omnivore's Dilemma. n.d. 33-56.

Robbins, John. Can GMO's end world hunger? 8 Aug 2011. 20 March 2014 <>. Seralini, Giles-Eric, et al. "How Subchronic and Chronic Health Effects can be Neglected for GMOs, Pesticides or Chemicals." International Journal of Biological Sciences 5.5 (2009): 438443. Vendomois, Joel Spiroux de, et al. "Debate on GMOs Health Risks after Statistical Findings in Regulatory Tests." International Journal of Biological Sciences 6.6 (2010): 590-598.