We all are hearing about GMO’s (Genetically modified organisms), the way they are posing threat to the human life, the authenticity of them, possible dangers, the bioethics and all the possible way Genetic engineering and the exploitation of Biotechnology can actually be the end of human life. Let’s have a detailed discussion on whether GMOs are worth all this or not!
Now, before we even speak about GMO’s, we need to talk about genetic engineering because all GMO’s are the products of Genetic engineering. First question that pops up in the back of our minds, what exactly is genetic engineering? Because no matter how many times we come across the term, we still have our confusions about it. Genetic engineering, in simpler terms, is the creation, alteration or the modification of the genetic material of a plant or animal by the usage of certain means of vehicles. Easy enough?
But Genetic engineering is no easy thing to do, as we know, genes are the basic structure of life itself, we hear doubts about how ethically it is acceptable to change the life itself, some even calling it a blasphemy. But neither can we argue with scientists whose dream is to create a better world, a world free of poverty, a world free of pollution, a world free of any potential problems. The weapon they have is nothing but biotechnology, the biggest weapon of all, with which they created GMO’s.
What are GMO’s and how are they created ?
GMO’s are the Genetically modified organisms. Be it plants, animals or microorganisms. The intent of genetic engineering is to correct the problem from the root, that is in case of humans and other biotic community is to aim the genes and alter them. And how are they modified? There are several methods. Using physical, chemical and biological methods, genes are transferred and being modified. The means of transfer we are using, have to be incorporated in the organism targeted and only if successful, genetic alteration can be made.
Why are we using GMO’S ?
Multiple reasons. The overexploitation of nature by man, depletion of ecosystems and the near-ending of the environmental balance has forced to open the doors of the biotechnology and then the genetic engineering came into the picture, changing everything and making modifications in human life rapidly. Let’s take a look at the times GMO’s saved us from sticky ends.
1.Reduction of greenhouse gases emission
Greenhouse gases are a potential threat to environment today. The gases emitted from various means cause the damage to environment and cause global warming. The effects of global warming had become so fatal lately that the measures which were implemented were also not successful. But we have an advantage there, with the help of biotechnology. The genetically modified crops helped us a lot in reducing these harmful gases and giving their own share, which is more than all the humans combined, helped us reduce the effect.
2.Pharma agents and Biofuels
This is another revolutionary discovery that has been a huge boon to mankind. The pharma industry has been using less chemicals these days, after GMO’s had made their kick-ass entry. The biofuels which are used now also had more share of biotic material and they are now used with the minimal damage to the environment and avoiding the byproducts of the harmful chemicals that have been employed in the pharma industry.
High time that we clean up the mess we have been making all these years. Polluting the land, water, air and everything within our reach since centuries. Now these GMO’s are helping us to clean up the pollutants with not pollutants(another really stupid idea of man) but with natural things, like using the crops and the microorganisms.
This is a huge, huge appreciable front. Scientists had modified the crops with antioxidants, cancer-fighting agents, certain promoters of immunity and resistance to heart diseases and more, like peanuts and specific type of berries without allergens. Food products with high nutritional value that will help feed the under developed and malnutritioned people under the poverty line.
Yes, plant protection, after the GMO’s have been introduced, there is an immense decrease in the usage of pesticides, insecticides, and other insect and pest controlling measures. For instance, there is BT(bacillus thuringiensis) which drastically reduced the usage of all these materials. It has been criticized a lot but that’s another story!
These are the cases we just used for letting know about how useful GMO’s are to environment and how many close shaves we have escaped because of them. And there is no denying, there are certain risks associated with the GMO’s too. Like the long term effects of these crops are unknown. Even though all the transgenic foods manufactured are tested by WHO, there are still nagging suspicions about them. Also, the discovery of the BT toxin in human fetal blood added fuel to the fire of the doubts about the toxin being forwarded to next generations. The scientists are arguing about how we should utilize them properly and not overuse and younger generation supports the idea and after all, dogs are selectively bred wolves and that’s that!