The terrible abbreviation GMO means a genetically modified organism. The goals are both scientific and quite practical.
In agriculture and the food industry, organisms are created that are modified by introducing several transgenes into the genome. Thanks to this direction of science, people have learned to get new varieties of plants that are more resistant to bad conditions, new bacteria and even fish have appeared. However, most people are wary of GMOs.
It is believed that food made from modified products can be harmful to health. This opinion is fueled by marketers who began to write on the packaging "non-GMO product." In fact, the question is rather complicated, most of the judgments here are speculations and myths. Now is the time to consider them.
GMOs are inherently dangerous, because human intervention leads to the emergence of new organisms with unknown properties. It should be understood that in every type of living creature, every generation is accompanied by new mutations. So, in a person, up to 50 new point changes are noted per generation. In addition, sexual reproduction is accompanied by gene recombination, the offspring receives half of the set of chromosomes from the father and half from the mother. So, ordinary sexual reproduction can be considered a step towards the emergence of a new organism with unknown properties. In the end, such fears can be attributed to any living being. Most often, it is not known exactly what mutations appeared in a particular organism in relation to its parents. But we are not afraid of all products in general, but for some reason we are afraid of those created thanks to GMOs. It is also important to know that many of the technologies that work to create transgenic organisms are completely natural. For example, mention can be made of the use of a t-plasmid. Agrobacteria are widely known in agriculture, but they use all the same genetic engineering with the help of the t-plasmid, inserting their genes into the genome of the host plant. Agrobacteria in everyday life calmly infect agricultural crops, including those growing in our dachas and vegetable gardens. But in this case, no catastrophe occurs, we eat foods modified by nature itself.
Recently, more and more children with genetic disabilities have appeared due to GMOs. In fact, there is no scientific evidence to support such evidence. Nothing suggests that the use of GMOs somehow affects the statistics of genetic diseases in newborns and in humans in general. But there are useful changes. People with some of the diseases previously considered fatal can now continue to live thanks to modern medicine. Thanks to genetic engineering, diseases that previously could not be diagnosed can now be detected. True, this has nothing to do with GMOs themselves.
Due to the use of products with GMOs, changes in internal organs were found in people, tumors appeared, and hormonal levels changed. People and animals became sterile. And again it is worth mentioning that there is no scientific evidence of the formation of pathologies in humans due to the consumption of genetically modified plants. All that critics can operate on are several works in which tumors appeared in rodents after eating transgenic plants. However, these materials fall apart under close scientific gaze. Thus, in the study of rats eating transgenic maize, no statistical analysis was performed. If you do it, it turns out that the conclusions about the dangers of a GMO product are not statistically significant. Another study reported that eating genetically modified potatoes with lectin affects the digestive system in rats. But no one uses organisms with a built-in lectin gene as commercial crops. After all, it is known that this can lead to the appearance of toxic properties. There will be a violation of the assimilation of nutrients, allergic reactions will begin, among other failures and a violation. However, scientists focus precisely on the effect of transgenization, ignoring the fact that when boiling potatoes, for example, lectins, which the root crop is already rich in, are generally rendered harmless. Some differences were found in mice eating regular and modified soybeans. However, even the observers themselves did not find the changes significant. As a result, the researchers concluded that genetically modified food does not affect the health of animals or humans in any way. Talk about the dangers of soy refers to the work of Sakomoto, but the author himself, after a year of observing rats, on the contrary, came to the conclusion that the genetically modified product is safe. The rodents were on a diet that included up to 30% genetically modified food. As a result, it seems that the same authors write about the negative properties of genetically modified products, violating the methodology, and only then this myth is replicated by the interested parties.
The use of GMO foods is changing the climate. You just have to think about how this is even possible. So this statement does not have the slightest basis.
Using GMOs, corporations make huge money. Nobody says that companies don't make money on GMOs. But another business is also quite profitable, which is built on the sale of supposedly organic products. And the simple label “does not contain GMOs” generates income. It turns out that for the right to eat organic products, we pay on average 10-40% more than the cost of conventional counterparts. And the market for "clean" food is growing rapidly. If in 2002 organic products were sold for 23 billion dollars, then in 2008 this amount was already 52 billion. An important role in the popularization of such products was played by the myth of the danger of GMOs, which is being replicated and disseminated. The benefits are straightforward. In America, for example, almost all major producers of organic food are part of multinational concerns. So, based on the fact that someone makes money on a product, it is not worth drawing conclusions about its quality.
Cows die from GM feed. As proof of this myth, the story of the lawsuit won by the lawyers of the German farmer Gottfried Glockner against the company "Syngenta" is cited. However, by 2007, the case was not only not won, but one trial ended in favor of Syngenta. Indeed, the death of the farmer's cows can be linked to a very specific type of corn, BT176, but the plaintiffs have no actual evidence. The government of the country did not support the farmer in his proceedings with the corporation. Glockner seeks out more and more evidence, puts forward new claims, but can not prove anything. The mass death of cows in general can be associated with anything. At one time in Wisconsin, 200 cows died for unknown reasons, perhaps some infectious disease was to blame. The Robert Koch Institute conducted a study of Glockner cows, coming to the conclusion that it was not genetically modified corn that was to blame for the death of animals, but poor care and a number of diseases, including botulism.
GMOs lead to the emergence of new diseases, in particular, morgellons. The name "morgellons" means a potential disease - dermopathy, such a term appeared in 2002 thanks to Mary Leitao. Patients suffer from the fact that imaginary insects or worms crawl and bite on their bodies. Some people even "find" some fibers under their skin. Most dermatologists and psychiatrists believe that morgelonna is a manifestation of delusional parasitosis. It should be understood that this is a mental disorder. What does it have to do with genetically modified foods? Again, no connection was found and there is no scientific research on this topic.
GMOs cause cancer. The link between cancers and GMOs is usually traced back to a note published back in 1995 in the journal Adv Cancer Res. This work revealed that the insertion of new genes into mammalian genomes using adenoviruses could lead to cancer. And this is really true. But for the appearance of oncological diseases, these viruses themselves must be consumed in huge quantities. And what does GMO products have to do with it?
GMOs lead to the appearance of huge tumors. No connection was found between the appearance of large or small tumors and the use of GMOs.
By eating GMO-based food, we are changing our own genes. It is believed that when one organism eats another, horizontal transfer occurs. Scientists have shown that DNA may not be completely digested, as a result of which some molecules can enter the cell or nucleus from the intestine, integrating into the chromosome. As a result, alien genetic rates can be found in the cells of various organs in humans or animals. There are experimental results to prove this. Indeed, foreign DNA can be found in our cells, in particular, in the immune. Perhaps this is how natural protection against foreign pathogens works. However, to understand this process and to record it, multiple checks and independent research are required. In any case, the mechanism of penetration of foreign DNA into the body through food is not special exclusively for transgenic organisms. Potato DNA is no different from transgenic potato DNA. If the organism passes the DNA of the transgene into itself, then the ordinary one will get there. People constantly eat alien DNA for themselves, but we do not turn into plants, taking over part of their cells. When they talk about alien genetic insertions found in the cells of animals and humans, they refer to materials that do not talk about this at all. This is how the work on the transfer of the plasmid from one bacteria to another inside the gastrointestinal tract of a mouse is mentioned, in the same place the scientists tried to find out whether the plasmid inserted into the bacterial chromosome is transferred. As a result, this was not found at all. Other sources generally refer to the transfer of genetic material to bacteria, and not to animal cells.
Insects are disappearing due to GMOs. Scientists have developed a generic genetic modification that helps control pests. A special combination of genes from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis was created. But there were fears that the toxin could affect those living organisms, against which it was not originally intended. However, it turned out that this substance was sprayed in France, starting in 1935, and in America since 1958. However, no harm to the environment was identified. The toxin itself acts only on representatives of certain orders of insects, this is due to the fact that in order for the substance to act, it has to bind to certain receptors in the epithelial cells of a living being. If these receptors are absent, then the toxin will not act. In particular, it claims that this toxin kills the larvae of the Monarch butterfly. This is what an article published in 1999 in the journal Nature spoke about. The publication made a lot of noise, it marked the beginning of several studies, which were designed to assess the risks from GM plants with the Bt-toxin gene for the butterfly population. Moreover, tests were carried out not only in laboratories, but also in experiments. Then a paper was written on this topic, which gives a clear conclusion: the commercial cultivation of corn with the Bt-gene does not affect the population of the Monarch butterfly. The researchers even noted that the increase in fields with this crop, on the contrary, increases the number of such beautiful insects.
Bees are dying from GMOs all over the world. Recently, the mass death of bee colonies cannot but be alarming. Beekeepers, not understanding what is happening, blame GMOs for everything. After analyzing 25 studies on the effect of Bt plants on bees, it becomes clear that a GM plant does not in any way affect the survival of adult bees and larvae. Also, critics did not compare the rates of dying off of honey insects and sowing of GM plants by region. Is it worth it to bypass science to rely on the anonymous opinions of frightened beekeepers?
GMOs have given farmers nothing in terms of increasing their profits. In 2010, thanks to the attraction of GM crops to agriculture, the profits of farmers around the world grew by $ 14 billion. It is important to note that more than half of this impressive amount is accounted for by manufacturers from developing countries. An analysis of fifty scientific studies on this topic gives an idea that in developed countries the attraction of GM plants increases the yield by 6%, in other countries - by 29%. About 72% of farmers from all over the world noted an improvement in their economic condition, most of all, farms from developing countries felt the increase.
GMOs were supposed to reduce the amount of pesticides and herbicides used; instead, they only increased. When growing herbicide-resistant soybeans, the use of tillage chemicals decreased by 25-28%. In the fields sown with Bt-plants, the use of insecticides began to decrease by 14-76%. Genetically modified cotton had a noticeable effect on the economy in India - yields increased, profitability, even average farmers felt new standards of living.
Many genetically modified plants become sterile after a couple of generations. In fact, such a technique is done on purpose so that these plants do not migrate into the wild, escaping from human control. However, the sterility of the plants themselves does not mean that those who eat them will also become sterile.
All GMOs are dangerous and have a negative impact on human health. Living things that eat GMO foods have an increased mortality rate. All major fears are piled up here. However, most scientists do not share this point of view. And on the website of the World Health Organization, it is very clear on this matter that different GMOs have different genes that got there in their own special ways. This means, first of all, that the safety of such products cannot be assessed as a whole, drawing conclusions about the danger of the entire direction of science. Those GMO products that are presented on the international markets today have undergone rigorous testing, they do not pose a risk to human health. There is no evidence that GMO products marketed in the countries where they are approved have any negative impact on human health. The dangers of GMOs for animals were discussed above.
Organic and genetically modified products should be specially marked. This only makes sense when a possible allergic reaction to the inserted gene is known. So, a situation is possible when genetically modified soybeans may contain the Brazil nut gene encoding the albumin protein. As a result, people who are allergic to Brazil nuts may be allergic to this soy. If it were accompanied by appropriate labeling, then this problem could be avoided.In other cases, speculation about the labeling of organic or genetically modified foods is a way to fool shoppers. In essence, we are being forced to pay more by instilling that we are purchasing a higher quality non-GMO organic product. In fact, there is no question of a special quality here, it is fully consistent with analogues. On the other hand, a real anti-GMO hysteria is being formed in society, which brings material benefits to certain individuals. Society is misinformed about an important achievement of modern science.