Genetically Modified Foods: Scientific Development

For centuries man has made discoveries and continues to explore and invent new things. Lately, he has begun to meddle with nature and play god. His latest scientific breakthrough happens to be the genetic modification of foods ranging from organic vegetables to selective breeding.

Genetically modified foods refer to those vegetables and fruits whose genetic structure and original machinery have been altered to improve them overall. Its impact on mankind has been tremendous and has had both positive and negative responses from the public.

On the one hand, altered vegetables and fruits like the square shaped watermelon are easy and convenient to carry and store. They stay fresh for a longer period of time and their tastes have been changed to suit those of their prospective consumers. Another advantage is that they are immune to pests and herbicides. Technology and engineering have made them resistant to a variety of plant diseases. This has immensely helped farmers and agriculturists.

Their structure and looks have been remodelled to make them look more appealing and interesting. They can be made colourful as well. To solve the issue of world hunger, genetically engineered foods have been suggested as an appropriate solution since they have shown larger harvests and yields. It has opened a whole new avenue to biotechnology. Technology has also said to eliminate particular genes and properties of these foods which stop life threatening allergic reactions. So now people can consume foods which they were once allergic to.

With global issues like the possible exhaustion of fuels and non renewable resources, these vegetables may also serve as bio-fuels to run cars and electricity. They can be utilised as renewable resources and act as a clean and green fuel. They could also contribute to the field of medicine and health-care to treat rare illnesses. They can be used to create antidotes and remedies that stop or control the effects of a poison.
Genetically modified foods also include non vegetarian items such as beef, pork, chicken and fish. The DNA of pigs is being altered in a way so as to make pigs protected and immune to ringworm and tapeworm which make them safer to consume. Animals can be made resistant to common diseases and infections with the help of applied science.

On the other hand, select individuals don’t entirely trust this new trend for fear of hazardous chemicals being hard wired into the foods and affecting them. They call them harmful for the human body, containing toxins. They say that they artificially ripen fruits and vegetables which enable them to grow faster and get sold.
Currently, this trend is confined to first world countries like USA and Germany. But the way things are going, it wont be long before it hits the rest of the world. Traditional farming methods have given way to this ingenious and beneficial fashion.

New techniques and modes are being developed as we speak. Everyday people continue to become aware of this and embrace it and make it an integral part of their everyday lives. There is no limit to what science can do in today’s times. This development has truly affected the world at large.

Shirin Khara

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