Archive for October, 2013

What Are GMOs?

The Debate Over GMOs


         GMOs or Genetically Modified Organisms is the act of altering or taking genes from one species and inserting them into another to obtain a certain trait or characteristic. GMOs are everywhere. GMO foods have been a foundation in the U.S. for more than a decade.  Most of our corn, soybean, sugar beets, and cotton cultivated in the United States today contains DNA that has been manipulated. Though common in the U.S., they are largely banned in the 28-nations European Union.  Companies use GMOs to make manufacturing cheaper, produce more food, ward off insects, and resist diseases.

The debate over GMOs pose the question whether GMOs inside foods are safe or not? Studies show that short term there are no heath effects for humans. The Food and Drug Administration recognized these foods as safe, and the World Health Organization says that there are health effects that have risen on the international market since the creation of GMOs.  Unfortunately,  these organizations don’t always provide accurate and trustworthy research. There have not been enough independent research companies who have conducted fair and objective experiments to prove GMOS’ are safe. Most people worry that humans who eat GMO foods may be more prone to allergies or diseases resistant to antibiotics.  Most of the GMO crops are used for animal feed or in common processed foods such as cookies, cereal, potato chips and salad dressing.

The most recent controversy,  GMOs are now prevalent in Iraq. Since the United States has replaced the Iraqi government the United States is now making farmers in the “Fertile Crescent” plant US seeds that have been genetically modified. The seeds from Mesopotmaia are some of the oldest seeds on earth and have evolved naturally.   The implementation of this order, which reengineers Iraq’s agriculture, is called Order81. Order81 is a US imposed patent which introduces a system of monopoly rights over seeds. Under this order Iraqi farmers will be forced to buy their seeds from the corporations like Monsanto who are the biggest promoters of GMOs. GMOs will replace the old tradition of breeding closely related plants, and replace them with DNA from an altogether different species. In addition, the US and Iraq put an agreement in place which is called the company’s technology agreement (Technology User Agreements). This agreement allows the company to control farmers’ practices and conduct property investigation. The farmer essentially becomes the slave of the company and can be sued by Monsanto if they don’t use their seeds. GMOs could possibly ruin farming for Iraq.

Although GMOs may be disruptive to our health and the plants biodiversity in some instances GMOs have been found to be helpful. Recently, in  Florida the oranges were faced with a disease called “citrus greening.” The farmers attempted to scour the world to find a naturally immune tree that served as a progenitor for a crop, but this type of tree does not exist. Therefore the farmers had to turn to altering the oranges DNA and placing another gene into the orange from another species. In this instance, GMOs proved successful in saving the Florida orange.

After researching and looking closely at both sides I found that working ethically  and collectively towards the responsbile uses of GMO’s would serve our world and its people best.

What do you think?

Look at this video to learn more about what children are doing to protect our future.










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