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The misinformation and ignorance reigns supreme in the world of GMOs. Associations and lobbies relentless attack. The industry promotes mercilessly. And in between is the consumer and the farmer, both confused about it.
When the word “genetic” appears in the conversation, a mental silence is made and some fists contract. And if in that same talk, entertaining, talking about genetically modified agencies , also known as GMOs, the tension becomes palpable. What happens to them? Today the world is divided into two camps, those who advocate its use to the hilt and those who only see disadvantages and problems in them. So much danger is there? So confident are? What benefits and harms can bring? The industry is very involved in this thorny issue, of course. But the fame of genetically modified organisms not only comes from the commercial and industrial practice. Farmers and consumers have much because of misinformation there. Let’s talk a little about GMOs today.
The natural and “genetic”
As mentioned, the “GM” phrase arouses suspicion lot. But the truth is that this is mainly because a person without training does not adequately known genetic mechanisms by which life is governed. What happens to our genetics? All live, over time, is genetically modified. This occurs by natural processes, such as sexual reproduction , promoting certain characteristics over others. The difference with GMOs is that induce to have the properties you want (such as increased resistance to drought or larger), directing the selection of genes.
But this since we have been doing since agriculture is agriculture, selecting the grain that interests us or the sweetest apples. Another key difference is the speed with which we do. Genetically modified organisms are quickly selected with certain characteristics, not by “trial and error” and for generations. We can take a body and take away what we do not care while promoting what we want from him in one generation. To do this, of course, need special tools that allow us to eliminate these genes do not interest us and “put” other we want. For example, currently working on a line of cones that are pink, thanks to lycopene that gives the red color to tomatoes, which are completely edible (and protect against the effects of free radicals). Production of natural anticancer agents, such as lycopene and anthocyanins is just one example of what can be done with GMOs.
That’s where biological engineering and biotechnology hard. Another important aspect, and very misunderstood, is that eat “modified genes” means absolutely nothing . Like when you eat a banana (however natural it is, she genes, obviously) not you become a hybrid of banana man, or anything. In this clarification, which many may be unnecessary, lies 80% of misinformation from people not trained in science. The gene is natural. The natural (if alive) has “genes”. And having it takes a lifetime. Some genes put there at will not involve an adverse reaction, unless they are correctly set to produce a hazardous substance. But in that case, I doubt it reaches your table. No, the dangers of GMOs must be somewhere else.
Lights and Shadows of genetically modified organisms
Genetically modified organisms are surrounded by many myths. Many of which are unfounded. Others are deliberately promoted both by one side as the other. First, for now no direct evidence that GMOs are harmful to health . The only cases of allergies and sensitivity to a modified organism could have happened to any other or been very timely and distinctive. What GMOs are safe for consumption. In fact, although it is very fashionable now marked with a stamp, GMOs are at your table every other day too. We’ve been doing mutagenesis (genetically modified organisms) for over 50 years. Just doing about 20, around, we use an even faster technique called “transgenesis”. The latter is what is
GMOs have allowed the food reaches everywhere in the world in the center of the debates. But as we said before, it’s a matter of misinformation, primarily, at least in terms of public opinion.
Because GMOs may itself be dangerous, but not for health. The main dangers of GMOs are ecological character. Studying an ecosystem is complicated and difficult. Need of many factors, years and resources to understand how it works. A modified, the end of the day, organism is an organism prepared to have a number of advantages over other “wild” or less prepared. This can “contaminate” the species with “artificial” genes which may be ethically reprehensible or dangerous to the ecosystem. In fact there are several compelling evidence that this has occurred. Genetic homogeneity, ie all
can have adverse ecological consequences if not used responsibly individuals of a species have very similar genes, is wrong and can accelerate extinction with problems and diseases.
Another problem is worrying is the evolution of these genetically modified genes. As we have seen, genes are modified and selected naturally. What happens, then, with which we have put us? Well, the worst that can happen is they stop working. These genes mutate to be harmful (for both species itself and us) has many possibilities as you do any other natural feature the body. In this theater as complicated always enters the process of regulation and legislation. The interest by companies conflict with those of associations also have their own interests. And among consumers and small farmers who watch a battle from the center of crossfire same are. In conclusion, eating GMOs is completely safe and as healthy as the “natural” organisms. Overall use has allowed to feed much of the world that needs such GMOs. But their use can also have negative consequences if not distributed with head and scientific patience. So, is just say, you’d better look twice and maintain a skeptical and critical thinking to events
April 1, 2015
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