Explore BrainMass

Genetically Modified Organisms and potential hazards

What are the hazards of genetically modified organisms (GMOs)? Is there a solution, or alternative, to having genetically modified foods in our diets?

Solution Preview

Historical Origins of Biotechnology
The history behind the science of biotechnology began in 1866 when Gregor Mendel published his findings on genetic inheritance in pea plants. Some 107 years later in 1973 Stanley Cohen, Annie Chang, and Herbert Boyer modified were the first scientists to successfully modify a gene from one organism and splice it to a gene in another organism. In the mid-80s scientists began to experiment with field trials on plants resistant to insects, viruses, and bacteria, and in 1986 the Environmental Protection Agency approved the release of the first genetically modified tobacco plant resistant to antibiotics. Since this landmark approval that unfortunately paved the way to loose regulations on consumer products that are obtained from the science of biotechnology, two-thirds of all food that is consumed on the shelves of American stores contains GMOs (Wallman, 2008).
A mere 39 years after the first gene was modified from one organism and spliced to a gene in another organism the by-products of this scientific triumph have inundated the food chain. As a result currently a majority of consumers have no other choice but to consume these foods because two-thirds of the foods on the shelves of grocery stores in the country contain genetically modified organisms.

The debate on GMOs.
The World Health Organization has weighed in on the safety of GMOs as well as other governmental agencies. Many studies have been conducted on the issue of genetically modified food with both proponents and opponents both promulgating statistical data that suggest either GMOs are safe or unsafe for human consumption. In any regard, the issue that is not in question on either side is that transferring novel traits to food microorganisms through the use of recombinant gene technology results in potential food safety issues that have never been experienced before in mankind. The assessment of GMOs must be done a case-by-case basis and the acknowledgement that the potential long-term effects of this on human health cannot be known should remain at the forefront of the debate (WHO, 2001).

GMOs represent a proverbial Pandora's box, that have the capability to benefit mankind immensely depending on which researchers you believe while obviously something possibly very dangerous within. Regardless of the validity and reliability ...

Solution Summary

This solution provides students with a detailed explanation of the hazards and dangers associated with GMOs retrieved from scholarly journal articles.