Published: 10/25/2012 - Updated: 09/16/2018
The man takes several thousands of years altering plants used as food. Currently, engineering is the technology responsible for handling and transferring DNA from one organism to another, enabling the creation of new varieties, correcting genetic defects and manufacturing of many compounds.
In its early genetic engineering was used to produce pharmaceutical substances like insulin, through genetic modification of microorganisms. Was then applied to obtain genetically modified plants and animals.
This is known as genetically modified organisms (DGM) or transgenic those living organisms (viruses, bacteria, fungi, microorganisms, animals and plants) that are inserted a gene from an organism of another species (or even another realm) by through modern biotechnology or genetic engineering. In other words, it takes a "cross" sophisticated among different species and kingdoms to modify the original characteristics of the organism. For example, corn with bacteria genes, pork with pant genes, or a strawberry with fish genes . This procedure allows the living organism produce a new protein that confers different properties.
Objective and classification of GMOs
The goal is to produce genetically modified plants that have a longer shelf life, resist aggressive environmental conditions (frost, drought, soil types), support herbicides or insect pests, and have improved nutritional qualities. In general, they are better than the original.
The first engineering that modified food that hit the market, was the tomato. He introduced a lock to enizmas responsible for maturation, which guaranteed a greater shelf life, and was expected to improve the taste when the plant reaches his mature, avoiding huge losses to the traders, who are forced to throw tons of banned products. Foods that subsequently entered the market, were soybeans and corn, which became resistant to herbicides, or certain insects, resulting in higher productivity, growing and harvesting.
Until recently, there isn’t any scientific evidence that proves damage to human health. Any new technology involves potential risks of genetically modified foods are as safe feature maybe the same health risks as conventional or traditional food, considering that they have almost the same composition. In other words, are considered to be substantially equivalent, because its composition is equal to the original but with the exception of the new gene introduced.
Still, some people are still talking about risks, and refer to the likelihood of allergy cases increases, the risk of appearance of antibiotic resistance, generating cancers. However, it is not necessarily the genetic modification which can convert potential allergens. You can’t generalize and talk that all GM foods are good or bad, because there are hundreds of them. To qualify, you must evaluate each one of them, on his own, and in addition monitoring the process.
Genetically engineered foods that have obtained marketing approval, have been evaluated based on three criterions. Nutritional content or substantial equivalence, potential allergens factors and toxicity.
Food and transgenics
It is clear that the population is increasing, and the arable land in the world and increasingly reduce. So what to do to feed a population, in a smaller arable area? The cultivation of transgenic plants is the solution.
Plants fortified with vitamins and essential micronutrients will be very useful to combat nutritional deficiencies, which have a high percentage in the humanity.
In terms of health, it is also beneficial. Have developed, for example, potato starch modified to absorb less fat at frying them.
The bad side of modified foods
Any type of agriculture affects the environment, so it is expected to also influence the new genetic techniques in agriculture. The environmental impact of these crops, can be positive or negative, depending on how and where they are used.
The issues of greatest concern are the ability of these products to disperse and enter uncontrollable genes into crops or wild plants, the susceptibility of non-target organisms (such as insects that are not pests).
The stability of the gene and its transfer to other plants, which can cause loss of biodiversity and increased use of chemicals in agriculture.
The use of transgenic crops has reduced considerable percentages chemical insecticides, fertilizers and herbicides, which generate much of the pollution and are potential agents of harm to health.
So research should focus on the study of the effect on insects harmful harmless and potential detrimental consequences for plant biodiversity and wildlife.
The fear exists
It is important to reiterate that the main foods we eat, such as milk and wheat are the main allergens. To a lesser extent are sesame, the cashews and peanuts. So they are out of the market. Therefore, the risk of allergies occurring food consumption transgenic exists, but also in the original food, or natural. People are afraid to eat genes, but the reality is that we consume every day, as all living things contain it.