What Is Genetically Modified Food?

(Sarosh Malik, Islamabad)

In the last several years we've seen some strange genetically modified organism’s pigs that glow-in-the-dark chickens that grow without feathers and even goats that produce spider silk proteins. But what really gets people annoyed up are genetically modified foods the prospect of eating somebody's science project turns the stomach of those who aspire to eat so-called whole or natural foods but what exactly does genetically modified mean anyways and how are those foods created to answer these questions we need to go back in time about ten thousand years. That's when people first started domesticating animals and cultivating plants for food by picking organisms with desirable traits and mating them together over and over again people were able to mold species to meet their food needs the classic example is corn which started out as a tropical grass called teosinte (a Mexican grass which is grown as fodder and is considered to be one of the parent plants of modern maize) was small nearly inedible grains over thousands of years ancient farmers in Mexico transform the grass into the delicious starchy treat we like to eat today we now know those ancient farmers were manipulating the DNA of the teosinte plant as few as five changes to its genome. The long threads of DNA that encode for proteins create the dramatic differences we see between teosinte and corn scientists call this process artificial selection and it's made all kinds of unpleasant plants edible from wheat to rice to almonds and bananas. What's different about modern genetically modified foods is the speed and precision with which we can make changes now instead of selectively breeding for traits we can go directly to the DNA responsible snip it out and Transplant it into newly developing plants and animals. If these leftovers come from the same species scientists call the new organism sis genic “sis” means the same but if the DNA comes from a completely different plant or animal scientists called the new organism transgenic “Tran’s” means to cross those fluorescent pigs they glow green because they contain a gene (chromosomes) from a luminescent jellyfish and in the last 20 years we've begun to see the food equivalent corn that makes bacterial toxins poisonous to pests, tomatoes that make the antifreeze proteins from fish and even cows that produce human milk so you may be wondering if this kind of overt manipulation is safe well all of the GM foods currently on the market have been thoroughly tested but the verdicts still out on some of the more exotic transgenic pairings.

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19 May, 2018 Views: 464

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