What are GMOs? While science has advanced with new possibilities, many of the methods we are using today are not that far off from genetic modifications that farmers have been using for thousands of years. Here are some facts you need to know about Genetically Modified Organisms(GMO).
1. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) — also described as genetically engineered — are living organisms that have had a gene (or several) of another, unrelated species inserted into their own genetic assembly/nature.They are not the same as crossbred organisms, which are created the traditional way and involves choosing the desired breeders and getting them to reproduce as they would naturally.
2. With GMOs, breeding takes less time than the traditional route, allows for more precise selection of desirable traits, and for the combination of genes from organisms that would not combine in nature.
3. It is estimated that 60 to 70 percent of processed foods sold in stores have at least one ingredient that is genetically modified. If you’re worried about eating GMOs and their effects on your body’s operations, go organic.
4. GMOs are made in such a way that makes them more resistant to insects and more tolerant of herbicides. Some also grow faster and in a wider range of temperatures.
5. GMOs might be bad because they have only been around for about 20 years, so people are concerned that they may have long-term health effects that we have yet to notice, like new allergens or the transfer of potentially harmful genetic material to our cells. In particular, people are concerned that GMOs will spread their antibiotic resistance to us.
The World Health Organization has said that this transfer is not very likely but they still encourage the use of GMO technology that avoids antibiotic resistance genes. To be clear, there is no confirmed health risk of GMOs right now.
Another main concern about GMOs is that they may take the place of natural species, which would reduce the amount of genetic diversity in those species. Currently, 62 countries restrict GMO products in some way, either through outright bans or labeling requirements.
What do you know about GMOs? Let’s talk in the comments!