Showing posts with label Genetically Modified Organisms. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Genetically Modified Organisms. Show all posts

Nov 11, 2016

GMO Myth

Many headlines proclaim that GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) produced food is bad for us, however science debunks that myth. Sales of such GMO-free products are skyrocketing and they represent about $16 billion in annual sales. GMOs currently on the market provide ample cases of tangible benefit with relatively negligible risk. In the US, 70% of the food in US supermarkets contains GMO ingredients.

Organizations like the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the European Commission have publicly proclaimed GMO foods to be safe to eat. A large 2013 study on GMOs found no "significant hazards directly connected with the use of genetically engineered crops."

Other experts cite the fact that practically all the food we eat today has been genetically modified in some way; everything from corn to watermelons have been selectively bred for thousands of years to give us the traits we find desirable, like large amounts of sweet, edible flesh, or small and fewer seeds. Brings to mind the early ugly looking and untasty small kernel corn, tiny potatoes, tomatoes, and purple carrots.

Thousands of years ago when people simply gathered wild fruits and vegetables for food, these plants were found naturally growing in the wild. Then, about 10,000 years ago, people began to domesticate these wild fruits and vegetables and eventually improve upon them.

For instance, potatoes were domesticated about 10,000 years ago. Following centuries of selective breeding, there are now over a thousand different types of potatoes. Over 99% of the presently cultivated potatoes worldwide descended from varieties that originated in the lowlands of south-central Chile.

Selective breeding is the process of developing a plant or animal based on selecting desirable characteristics of the parent. For example, saving seed for replanting from plants within a crop that have shown to be particularly robust; or breeding a white dog with a black patch over its eye via two parents that have the same trait. Selective breeding is a form of genetic modification which does not involve the addition of any foreign genetic material (DNA) into the organism. It is the conscious selection for desirable traits. GMO adds different genetic material into the organism, in order to create desirable traits.

Incidentally, during October 1995, the potato became the first vegetable to be grown in space. NASA and the University of Wisconsin, created the technology with the goal of feeding astronauts on long space voyages, and eventually, feeding future space colonies.