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More and more farmers and food manufacturers are genetically
modifying their crops to reduce susceptibility to disease, improve
flavor, and reduce costs. Do you think genetically modifying foods
is a good idea? Why or why not? Use specific reasons and
examples to support your position.
A few decades ago, manipulating genes in people, plants, and animals was just
science fiction. Today, it’s a reality, and genetic modification may have many
positive applications in the future, including the eradication of many hered-
itary diseases. But like most scientific and technological advances, the genetic
modification of organisms for our food supply can be as dangerous as it is
beneficial. Because of the potential dangers of this technology, I think genet-
ically altering plants and animals in the food supply is a practice that should
be very tightly controlled and carefully studied before it is an accepted and
common practice. Unfortunately, it may already be too late for that.
Many people don’t even realize that many of their foods are genetically
modified organisms (GMOs). GMOs are already prevalent in supermar-
kets and grocery stores across the country, but manufacturers are not
required to label foods as having been made from GMOs. As a result, mil-
lions of Americans purchase and eat GMOs every day without even know-
ing it. Yet we don’t even know if GMOs are harmful to our health. We
don’t really know how GMOs may affect our bodies or our ecosystem.
When we mess with DNA, we may be making changes that have all sorts
of dangerous repercussions, including some that we may not even realize
for several generations.
One of the main concerns about GMOs is the unpredictability of the
behavior of altered genes and of the bacteria, plants, and animals that inter-
act with the altered organism. For example, a crop of corn genetically mod-
ified to be less susceptible to a particular insect may take on other unwanted
characteristics due to the change. It may, for example, become more sus-
ceptible to another disease, or it could develop a tougher skin on its kernels,
or it could decrease the crop’s ability to produce vitamin E.
More frightening is the domino effect of genetically modifying foods.
Any change in an organism’s DNA has the potential to affect not only the
organism but also anything that feeds off of it, including us. How do we
know how GMOs might affect us on a microscopic, genetic level? We don’t
know, and can’t know, without years of studies that track all sorts of poten-
tial outcomes over several generations.
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