With the progression of genetic engineering, GM foods have become common. There is a serious concern among the people whether genetically modified foods are good or bad.
What are GM FOODS?
With the advent of science, you can manipulate the genomes according to your needs. As the name of genetically modified foods suggests that foods that are altered by using genetic engineering techniques. These foods have changed genetic makeup. There are various genetically modified crops grown nowadays. Monsanto is the major producer of GM seeds in the global market. The seeds give better yield and have better characteristics like they are pest and insect resistant, they can bear drought and salinity, etc.
Common GM FOODS
GM foods are common nowadays. There are hundreds of GM crop varieties cultivated nowadays. United States is on the top in cultivating GM crops. But we will discuss major GM crops cultivated globally. The most widely cultivated GM crops varieties are cotton, corn, maize, soybeans, alfalfa, etc. Corn is considered as a major GM food cultivated globally over 90% corn in the US is “Roundup Ready”. Soy is the second most cultivated GM crop. Bt cotton is also cultivated globally.
Pros and Cons of GM FOODS
There is a serious concern among the people whether they should eat GM foods, Are GM foods safe, etc. here we will discuss all the pros and cons of GM foods.
Genetically Modified foods have various advantages as well as disadvantages. The major reason is genetically modified crops give a better yield than wild type. As we know than the global population is increasing and we need more food to feed the people of the planet thus these GM crops provide us opportunities to obtain better yield in limited resources.
Another advantage is that through genetic modification techniques you can increase the nutritional value of the food. These genetic modification technologies help us to get allergens free crops, a crop with desired nutrients, elimination of toxic elements from the food. A well-known example of this is nicotine-free tobacco. Golden rice is another major example which has increased concentration of vitamin A that helps the people and communities with vitamin A deficiency.
These GM crops also decrease environmental concerns such that they reduce the use of pesticides and chemicals etc. These pesticides and chemicals are toxic to the environment. These GM foods are also cost-effective because they require fewer pesticides and fertilizers and some of the varieties are drought and salinity resistant.
New research studies put a question mark on the safety concerns on the genetically modified crops. One of the major drawbacks of GM foods is that the health consequences of these foods are not specified. Some studies have shown that GM foods cause tumors and cancer in humans. GM crops are also considered as a source of reducing biodiversity. Besides health and environmental concerns, there is an ethical debate on GMOs as well.