- What Does Genetically Modified Mean?
- A Guide to Genetically Modified Foods
- What Are Some of the Genetically Modified Foods?
These are foods in which the genetic makeup has been altered. This alteration is caused by the implantation of other genes from other foods or animals, viruses, insects and even the bacteria normally found in the soil.
These modifications are placed in the original product and it forces cell changes that are intended to be safe or healthy for humans to eat. It used to be that breeders of plants or animals took part in cross-breeding of various species to create a better, sturdier hybrid version of two originals.
The way it worked was that the breeder chose animals or plants that had highly sought-after features. They then mixed these to create what they wanted in the hopes of gaining a new product.
It was assumed that this mixture would create a more superior animal or plant. This type of cross-breeding was relatively harmless. However, those who work in biotechnology have taken the idea several steps forward and use a lab to mix genes from all types of products.
The goal for this type of genetic alteration was done because it was thought that by creating genetically modified foods, the food would not only taste better – but it would also be better for people to eat.
Another thought was that these foods could be created to withstand issues that were known to damage other plants or animals. Some of these issues were pests, poor water supply, weather-related issues and diseases.
It was originally intended that by mixing one gene with another gene, a plant would be created that could then naturally fend off pests. Instead of having to use chemical-based pesticides to protect the plant, the plant could protect itself by creating its own natural pesticide.
It was also believed that if genes could be injected into plants in order to create plants that could withstand a chemical onslaught from pesticides, the plant would be safe – but the pesky weeds trying to grow in the same area would die off.
By being able to protect itself, it was hoped that the crops of these plants had a higher chance of reaching maturity, cutting down on loss to growers and ensuring enough food supply for an ever-growing world population.
The proponents of genetically modified foods also thought that these foods would have a faster growth cycle. This faster cycle would mean that foods could be produced and delivered at less cost to the manufacturer.