Most Fundamental Sources: GMO

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Genetically modified foods have become one of the most fundamental sources of food in the present world. This is due to the fact the current population is rising and hence the need to meet the ever-increasing demand for food. Besides, climatic patterns and trends due to aspects like global warming have to an appreciable extent changed with the rains increasingly becoming hard to predict. As a result, farmers are not able to plan their calendars properly and efficiently and hence it results in poor agricultural practices and low-quality food production. The change in the current lifestyle based on 24 hr economy and aspects of industrialization has also propagated the enhancement of genetically modified food. Despite a lot of controversies concerning the issue of genetically modified food, the rapid increase in population has made it more essential in curbing food shortages and enhancing food security. This can be seen from the efforts of genetic engineers to produce early maturing crops. For instance, through a process called somaclonal variation, plants like sugar cane that regenerate relatively faster than the plant from which they were engineered can be produced

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At present, elucidations have been placed on the need of producing disease-resistant plants and animals that are resistant to various diseases as a means of ameliorating the ongoing global food insecurity. Genetically modified food crops and animals are exemplary survivors of a vast number of ailments. The production of animals and plants that are drought-resistant is one of the overarching notions behind the genetic modification. The plants are made resistant to microorganisms and macro-organisms like fungi, bacteria, and viruses that cause diseases. This, in turn, increases crop production. As Freedman argues, genetic approaches as plausible in producing animals and plants that are disease resistant, for instance, the production of cows that are resistant to the mad cow disease. Similarly, the population of the world is growing rapidly, and more land is required for housing instead of farming and food production. This has led to diversification since most farmers are forced to utilize lands that are not suitable for farming like the arid and semi-arid areas hence the need to grow plants that can withstand long periods of drought.

In addition, some GM organisms and plants are designed to be cold resistant to the extent of producing sensitive seedlings that can survive frost. This is achieved through the introduction of antifreeze proteins, with insight from the antifreeze protein found in cold-water fish, to plants like tobacco, rice, and potato. The anti-freezing mechanism of this protein involves thermal hysteresis and re-crystallization inhibition. The gene produced by the incorporation of the antifreeze protein is cloned into both binary and ordinary plant expression vectors for use in genetically engineering food crops that are resistant to extremely low temperatures.

Most importantly, genetically modified foods are characterized by the high nutritional value required for robust health. This is clearly seen in the genetic modification of rice whereby it is genetically engineered to contain additional minerals and vitamins apart from starch which is known to contain. To top it off, through inoculation Zinc level in rice has been increased as a means of enhancing the availability of this micronutrient that is much needed for the maturation of the reproductive organs in women. Further, the reduction and prevention of malnutrition which occurs due to a lack of adequate nutrients in food have since been curbed, thanks to GM foods.

According to Forman, genetically modified food exhibits extended food shelf life. The plants are generated using classical microbiological methods that enable them to remain tastier for a long period of time, hence reducing waste as a result of spoilage. In most cases, food products are often sold in far remote areas from their production cities there emerges a scintillating need to improve the shelf life of these food products. Genetic modification provides plausible means through which food can be transported to distant places without the worry of the perishability of the foods. Again, through genetic modification, antimicrobials can be produced which can then be incorporated into packed foods. Such organisms are the placed on the surface of the packed food, surfaces where noxious organisms use as growth sites

GM plants and animals are famous for their outstanding abilities to resist pests. As a result, chemical pesticides are not used for pest control making the product safe for human consumption. As a spill-over benefit, environmental pollution that would have been otherwise experienced if the pesticides were used is minimized. Moreover, crop losses from insects and pests are reduced resulting to financial savings and improved standards of living. Worth noting is the fact that genetic modification also capacitates the incorporation of edible vaccines in foods. Such vaccines help in preventing diseases in humans with an extended role of enhancing the shelf life of these foods.

In a nutshell, it is evident that genetically modified food crops are an excellent source of food to the fast-growing population. It is also clear that when the negative and harmful impacts are minimized and contained wisely, it can lead to better and high-quality production of genetically modified food crops. Farmers can also benefit from transgenic crops, however, there must be legal ramifications to ensure that farmers have access to fair competitive terms. It is, therefore, highly recommended that the government should put more effort in regulating and checking the production of genetically manufactured food for the purposes of taking into consideration of peoples’ health and not putting peoples’ lives at stake. This will enable people to have confidence in the consumption of genetically manufactured food. The government should also be in line with this so as to enhance the issue of food security. The regulation made should also consider the small livelihood farmers, also should not rule out the basic idea of organic farming.

29 April 2022

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