Transgenic seeds are a point of contention among people who want the best for the environment. You will find people of goodwill on both sides of the argument, some claiming that transgenic technology is the way to a sustainable future. On the other hand, some point out that we do not know the full extent of the consequences associated with genetic engineering. This article will highlight several concerns that many people hold about transgenic seeds.
Transgenic seeds include DNA imported from one or more species to change a particular crop's qualities. Through genetic engineering, scientists introduce DNA from one life form to another to produce a genetically modified organism (GMO). The majority of GMO foods now on the market are plant-based foods like fruits and vegetables.
In the U.S., all foods made from genetically modified plants are subject to FDA regulations. They must adhere to the same safety standards as non-GMO food products. In regions with difficult climates, GMO crops will probably play a significant role in feeding the world's expanding population.
Ongoing Concerns about Human Health
Since genetically modified food is still a relatively new phenomenon, it is unclear how it will affect food safety in the long run. In addition, human health is a significant issue regarding its drawbacks. While studies are ongoing, scientists have not yet shown conclusively that eating GMO foods is unhealthy. Nevertheless, worries persist.
Increased Allergic Responses
GMO foods have a slight risk of inducing an allergic response, but only if genetic modification synthesizes an allergen. For instance, there is a minute possibility that a person with a nut allergy may have an allergic response to foods spliced with DNA from a nut. An example would be someone presenting allergic symptoms to soy that has Brazil nut DNA in it.
The World Health Organization (WHO) advises against genetic engineers utilizing allergen DNA unless they can demonstrate that the allergen's gene is not the root of the issue. Before a product enters the market, scientists evaluate the possibility that GMO foods can cause an allergic response in people and, if required, can stop the product before it gets to market.
Higher Cancer Risk
Some worry that consuming GMO foods may increase cancer-causing chemicals in the body. This elevation may, in turn, promote the disease. However, according to the American Cancer Society, there is no proof that eating GMO foods raises or lowers the risk of developing cancer. Moreover, although U.S. cancer rates have fluctuated over time, there is no proof that these variations followed the introduction of GMO foods. If there is a causal relationship between transgenic crops and cancer, it could take many more years before a pattern becomes apparent.
Certain GMOs have modifications that render them resistant to certain antibiotics. Theoretically, their genes are ingested when people or animals consume these plants. Therefore, the person or animal may build a tolerance to the same antibiotics. Although there is very little chance this may occur, the WHO and other health authorities are monitoring the science and have implemented policies to guard against it.
Changing Human DNA
Some people think that food DNA might damage the immune system. Additionally, others have expressed concern that consuming GMO food can alter human genetics. While scientists discovered in 2009 that food DNA could survive as far as the stomach, it is not particularly common.
Whether a meal is genetically modified, most of its DNA is either eliminated by cooking or degrades before reaching the large intestine. As it stands now, there is no proof that minute DNA fragments from food affect a person's genetic makeup or health, even though they sometimes reach blood circulation and internal organs.
GMO foods may influence the liver, kidney, pancreas, and reproductive system, according to the 2009 study cited above. However, the correlation was not strong, and the scientists demanded further research without conclusive proof. Moreover, since farmers can forego pesticides that have been detrimental in the past, using GMO crops may even lower the risk of toxicity from certain compounds.
Some People Voice Environmental Concerns
Climate change and harsh weather are disrupting the production and supply of food. In the face of shifting environmental circumstances and a rising population, GMO crops may help preserve the food supply. However, there are several persistent concerns about transgenic crops that warrant consideration.
The possibility of GMOs escaping and perhaps introducing the modified genes into populations of wild plants and animals.
Transplanted DNA's persistence after the GMO has been harvested and its ability to cause harm to non-target creatures, such as insects that are not pests.
The stability of the gene and whether crops will maintain the intended effects of bioengineering.
The reduced biodiversity inherent in all industrial farming models.
The rising use of chemicals in agriculture. For example, increased glyphosate in our food.
With Inconclusive Evidence, People Still Have Concerns About Transgenic Crops
Transgenic seeds contain the DNA of multiple plant species. This genetic material can make plants more resilient to harsh weather and resistant to pests and disease. However, the technology is relatively new, and people are concerned. Nevertheless, despite the (seemingly) remote possibilities of danger, scientists and regulatory bodies feel confident to recommend transgenic crops as a tool to help maintain the global food supply. When it comes down to it, consuming GMOs is a personal decision that we must make amid a broad array of tradeoffs.
Go Organic – Although some people want to include transgenic crops in the organic certification process, it hasn't happened yet. So if you want to avoid them, shop organic as much as possible.
Stay Healthy – All of the potential health issues (tenuously)associated with GMOs are (definitely) associated with an unhealthy lifestyle. You get the biggest bang for your buck by ensuring you eat a varied diet with few (if any) processed foods and exercising frequently.
Vote – Everyone can vote with their wallet. Whether you want more transgenic foods or fewer, play a part in the incentive structure by rewarding the companies that align with your values. And don't forget to do some ambassadorial work on social media