Have you ever heard of ‘Franken’ foods? That sounds pretty gross, doesn’t it? This is what those against GMOs, genetically modified organisms, call these new and enhanced foods. Basically it is food that is altered from regular food so it has more nutrients, a better taste and appearance, and longer shelf life. Some say that GMOs are absolutely horrible for the human race and others say that they will improve humanity’s health all around the world. This has been an argument for the last few decades and many are worried that GMOs aren’t good for them. On the contrary, there is a great deal of evidence that GMOs are helping in a major way, and could be helping even more in the future. From helping feed starving kids across the world to reducing the cost of local foods and from the evolution of plants to the hardy crops of the future, there are dozens of ways that GMOs improve this world.
All across the planet there are kids and families that are hungry and malnourished. Children go to bed, if they have one, with their stomach growling and parents are desperate to keep their children and themselves alive. Today in Africa the climate is dry and arid, allowing very few crops to grow successfully. With the help of GMOs, there could be many more crops for small-town farmers in Africa to grow and actually thrive like corn, which doesn’t usually grow well in that type of climate (Pearson). In fact, according to the World Health Organization, GMOs are, “making major improvements in both food quality and nutrition” (Pearson). In fact, they’re right, and thousands of people that wouldn’t normally have enough food now can survive off of the GMO crops. That is because the only difference between non-GMOs and GMOs is that the GMOs are able to survive in harsher climates. Some say that the new farming techniques could solve this, yet most of the time the conditions aren’t right for essential crops. From weather to the amount of nutrients in the soil, there are many factors that could stop ordinary foods from growing. Not to mention that the climates in Africa are starting to become worse and worse. Soon the people won’t have anything to eat that isn’t imported, and that could destroy their economy. Thankfully, GMOs can stop this and withstand many of these factors. But GMOs are not just across the world to feed only the starving; they are in everyday foods as well.
Just about everyone eats processed foods, like cereal. And when they do the food generally taste good and they will continue to have it multiple times in their lives, no problem. What people don’t realize is that what they are eating contains GMOs 50 percent of the time (Ray and Moser, 29). 68% of all soybeans are GMOs (Ray and Moser, 23). That means that they are eating GMOs for a lot of their diet. These GMOs are actually giving the consumers more of their vitamins and helping them reach the minimum consumption of minerals they need to stay healthy since many aren’t concerned about the number of vitamins eaten. If people are eating genetically modified foods just about every day, then why do people say that they are bad? Very few individuals show any allergy symptoms to GMOs out of the billions of people eating these foods. Not to mention that buyers save tons of money on products that have GMOs. Commercial retailers buy the GMOs because they are so much cheaper than buying foods grown with pesticides and organic products and allow them to lower prices. All in all, there are many benefits to human health and to the economy that people don’t even know about. However, some worry about how natural these crops are, but GMOs are just like foods that have evolved.
Before cavemen, before dinosaurs, evolution ruled the world. Evolution selects the best genes of a species and combines them to improve future generations. The survival rate is meant to increase and the animals or plants slowly gain the ability to move away from their original territory. Evolution, in a way, manipulates which genes the organisms will have. All foods have to go through evolution; even the organic foods are evolved to have certain poisons and ways to defend themselves. Then around 5000 BCE, farmers realized that they can improve the quality and amount of crops they can produce (Ray and Moser, 11). Genetic engineering is basically the same thing except it makes evolution go faster and can insert DNA of different species. In other words, genetic engineering is much more direct, and therefore controlled. If genetic engineering is really just a more advanced way to evolve foods, then it isn’t unnatural, it shouldn’t be called an odd name, it should be treated as any other food. If one were to think about it, the organic foods are eventually going to evolve and may not be as beneficial as they are today. At least with GMOs scientist can control what will happen. In the end, genetic engineered foods are just like regular foods that have evolved in a very short amount of time. Looking back at the past can also help humans in the future.
Today the human population is higher than ever before, and does not appear to be slowing down. How are all of those new people supposed to be fed if there are those already dying because of hunger? The farmlands in countless nations are disappearing, so what happens when there is no more fertile soil? What about the global warming, what happens when the droughts kill regular plants? These are all things that will effect farming in the future, and all of them can be slowed or stopped from happening with the help of GMOs. As was said before, the human race is increasing at a very fast rate and people need to be fed. GMOs are being created to help produce more food in less time. This would mean more food for lower prices. Those who go to bed hungry because there was not enough food at dinner would be able to afford buying more food and those who simply can’t find any food would be able to find it. Also, the top soil of fertile farm lands is disappearing. Top soil is the part of the land that plants grows in. So when it disappears there will not be a place for decent farming. The techniques farmers use are effective in the short run, but eventually the nutrients will disappear. GMOs are being made so that they have longer roots and cannot only get nutrient but also keep the top soil from being blown away in to dust. Another problem that farmers face even today is unfavorable growing seasons. Sometimes it is flooding other times there is a drought. With climate change on the rise, the weather that used to be perfect will become an enemy. Today, scientist are finding different ways to make crops more adaptable to flooding or go longer periods without water and still be the same food as before. So when there are more extreme disasters, farmers will not lose all of their crops. Clearly, the future could greatly benefit the future of the human race.
There are some things that do scare people though, like allergies and cross contamination. Since each individual is unique, no one will react to the same way to GMOs. For the most part people tend to do okay with these new foods. There is a handful of people, though, who refuse to consider the chances of being allergic to genetically modified crops as very little. They say that these crops are unnatural, and therefore can be called faulty. However don’t they run the risk of having an allergic reaction whenever they try something new? Organic foods have been known to severe and fatal reactions. Also, a good deal of food that many eat is processed. As stated before, many processed foods contain GMOs, which could mean that many of the protesters against genetically modified foods could actually be eating them daily. Cross contamination is also another concern. Many have stated that the modified plants have traveled from one farmer’s fields into other farmers’ fields. This is a problem that scientist are currently working on. Scientist are discovering ways to stop seeds from spreading. Also the government is setting many laws about how far apart farms need to be if one contains GMOs. Overall, there are very few issues with genetically modified organisms and the known problems are being studied so that they can be resolved.
In conclusion, GMOs are not as bad as people make them seem, in fact they can improve life all around the world. From the economy, to health, genetically engineered foods are helping humans in so many ways today. In the past, farmers were unable to control what genes are in their crops and now they can. With the research being done, so many new opportunities can be unlocked. Over time GMOs will be accepted as something that is great for people to eat with all of the vitamins being added. If the opportunity ever arises, discover more about these new foods and how they are affecting society today.?
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