Genetically Modified CropsFoods A blessing or a Curse

GM Foods means genetically modified (GM) foods which are produced from genetically modified organisms. It can be applied in laboratory practice in which the genetic structure of a plant is modified either by taking a gene from the other biological organism or by combining the gene in lab and inserting into the target organism  plant.

Genetically modified organisms are modified by a technique called Genetic Engineering Technique. In applied genetics and biotechnology, Genetic Engineering is the most dominant, authoritative and powerful Technique. This is the only technique available to change the genetics of organism. With this technique we can study and alter the genetic instructions of an organism.

History of GM Foods
In early 1990s Tomato was the first Genetically modified food manufactured by the California company called the FlavrSavr. It was welcomed by consumers who purchased the fruit at a substantial premium over the price of regular tomatoes.

Development of GM Foods
FoodPercent Modified in worldPercent Modified in USModificationProperties of the genetically modified varietySoybeans89In soyabean herbicide resistant gene is insertedResistant to  herbicides called glufosinate, glyphosate Corn, field60Into plant genome new genes  are added.Resistant to glyphosate or glufosinate herbicides, Insect resistance - using Bt proteins some previously used as pesticides in organic crop production. Vitamin-enriched corn derived from South African white corn variety M37W has bright orange kernels, with 169x increase in beta carotene, 6x the vitamin C and 2x folateCotton (cottonseed oil)6283Into plant genome Bt crystal protein gene is added Pest-resistant cottonHawaiian papaya50Into plant genome new genes are added.papaya ringspot virus is resistant to the Variety TomatoesNoneTaken off the market due to commercial failure.The production of PG enzyme added into plant genomeAfter harvesting Variety in which the production of the enzyme polygalacturonase (PG) is suppressed, retarding fruit softening PotatoesAmflora will be produced solely under contract farming conditions and not made available on the general market.The gene for granule bound starch synthase (GBSS) (the key enzyme for the synthesis of amylase ) was switched off by inserting antisense copy of the GBSS gene.Amflora variety produces waxy potato starch composed almost exclusively of the amylopectin component of starch  Rapeseed (Canola)75Into plant genome new genes  are addedHigh laurate canola is resistance to herbicides (glyphosate), Sugar caneInto plant genome new genes  are addedResistance to certain pesticides, high sucrose content.Sugar beetInto plant genome new genes  are addedResistance to glyphosate, glufosinate herbicidesSweet cornTo the plant.Gene from the bacterium Bacillus is thuringiensis added Produces its own Bt toxinRiceGolden riceThree new genes implanted two from daffodils and the third from a bacteriumGenetically modified to contain high amounts of Vitamin A beta-carotene

The initial objective to introduce GM Foods to provide crop protection
Food SecurityFood Security is the most important challenge by the 2050 to our world .Although there are many reasons to encourage and develop the technology of GM foods. It can solve the problem of hunger throughout the world including developed and developing nations. By the growing population in the world it is impossible to solve the problem of hunger and food security without the help of GM foods.

Drought Tolerance
Now a days people are using the land to build homes instead of food production and also amount of water needed to grow plants is vital because there is no enough to resources to halt the thirst of population and plants. There is a need to grow plants in a less place and water with the help of GM Foods and crops. So there is a need to create plants that withstands the problems of water scarcity and high salt content which is possible through GM Techology, Foods, and Crops.

Drought Tolerance gene is important because with the help of this it is possible to grow plants with less water. Less water they use leads less investment to grow plants and less amount the consumers pays. Only one percent of water is available in Earths water so farmers has to grow plants with less water .With help of Drought Tolerance gene farmers and others can overcome this problem.

Salinity Tolerance
Almost 234 million hectares of irrigated land provides forty percent (40) of the food supply among them twenty percent of the lands i.e 45 million hectares of land are with high salinity which leads to high salinization if yielding is done constantly. Among 1.5 billion hectares of dry land agriculture 32 million hectares of land has the problem of salinity.

Arcadia Biosciences is upcoming technology to grow plants under saline conditions which is relevant for wide variety of crops like corn etc., Arcadia Biosciences is a technology in which it combines the surplus salt from the soil in to the plant and recovers the salinity land. This technology also helps the farmers to grow plants capably and it also helps to reduce the need for the fresh water. This is important because it allows growing plants in high salinity conditions

Metal Tolerance
Plant ethylene levels increase due to the metals in water and also in soil. This is important because it allows growing plants even in the soils of high metal rate. It is helpful for the farmers and countries which have high metal tolerant soils to grow plants and crops (Gmcropss.Yolasite).

Heat Tolerance
As there are high temperatures in various countries due to global warming or some other some reasons. Plants do not grow in high temperatures that brings physiological and biochemical changes in plants .which leads to reduction in plant growth and also reduction in economic growth
Thermotolerance can be changed by increasing levels of osmolytes, increasing levels of cell detoxification enzymes and through altering membrane fluidity.

By inserting heat shock protein gene or by changing the levels of heat shock transcription proteins in plants we can bring heat tolerance plants which can grow more efficiently than those of in the adverse conditions.

Cold Tolerance
In some parts of world there are extreme cold conditions so it is not possible for the plants to grow more effectively. Thus cold tolerance is developed in plants so that it can withstand problems and grow more efficiently. It is helpful for the farmers who live in cold areas can grow plants through out the year (Gmcropss.Yolasite).

Insect Resistance
Through bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (BT) insect resistance can be achieved. It helps plants to grow rapidly without insect attack. It is safe for human consumption.

Viral Resistance
Viral resistance is gained by entering gene from various viruses which can cause diseases in plants. By this, plants will get less affected from viruses that cause diseases

Herbicide Tolerance
It can be achieved by introducing gene from bacterium that produces resistance to various herbicides (World Health Organization 2010).

Advantages of GM Foods
Food Crops will become more resistant to viruses, disease etc which results in high production.
Dietary values and quality of food products become enhanced through GM Foods
There is saving of money for both farmers and consumers
Production of crops and food security increases. (Booker 2004).
By Genetic engineering environmental degradation can be stopped.
Manufacturing of vaccines, medicines and disease resistant, virus resistant plants and foods (Niekerk 2005).

Main advantage of generally modified food is it acts as resistant to some diseases. There are some foods which may cause allergy for the consumer by consuming it. By changing gene of these foods the reasons for causing allergy can be eliminated (Kartha 2010).

Scientists have designed new seeds to oppose the particular pests and diseases that destroy crops poor hot countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia. The critics of new biotechnology seem to be worried about the impact of genetically modified crops on environment and human health in long run. European Union protestors claim that genetically modified food is risky. Bolaug said that rich countries ban on food imports from countries that grow genetically modified crops is worrying factor for food safety. Genetically-modified foods have the potential to solve many of the world sever problems like hunger and malnutrition. And it helps to protect and preserve the environment by increasing yield and reducing dependence upon chemical pesticides and herbicides. Some of the countries are not aware about genetically modified products, so that they want to ban it. Governments must try to give awareness about these GM products to all sections of society.

To day some parts of the world populations do not have enough food genetically modified crops will help to growing population by increasing yields and fighting crop diseases. People do not allow the GM foods, because they are afraid about its negative consequences. If it is used in a right way and it can make enough food for ever growing population.

Genetic modified foods, plants, crops has many advantages, so its the responsibility of the people, governments, NGOs, International organizations, scientists, and all others to promote the GM food. Even though it has some disadvantages, appropriate strategies should be taken and sustainable laws to be enacted to overcome from these negative effects and to use genetic engineering technology to solve the problems of hunger and food security. It produces very high quality and dietary products so its need of hour to use these products and GM Technology for sustainable development. Genetically Modified CropsFoods should be treated as a blessing to wipe out the existing problems rather than taking it as a curse.


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