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GM FOOD: Expectations Vs Reality
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) can be defined as organisms (i.e. plants, animals or microorganisms) in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating and/or natural recombination.
The technology is often called “modern biotechnology” or “gene technology”, sometimes also “recombinant DNA technology” or “genetic engineering.
Human-directed genetic manipulation of food began with the domestication of plants and animals through artificial selection at about 10,500 to 10,100 BC.
The first genetically modified food approved for release was the Flavr Savr tomato in 1994. Developed by Calgene, it was engineered to have a longer shelf life by inserting an antisense gene that delayed ripening.
China was the first country to commercialize a transgenic crop in 1993 with the introduction of virus-resistant tobacco.
In most cases, the aim is to introduce a new trait to the plant which does not occur naturally in the species like resistance to
GM is a technology that involves inserting DNA into the genome of an organism. To produce a GM plant, new DNA is transferred into plant cells. Usually, the cells are then grown in tissue culture where they develop into plants. The seeds produced by these plants will inherit the new DNA
GM Food in India
The country has yet to approve commercial cultivation of a GM food crop. The only genetically modified cash crop under commercial cultivation in India is cotton.
Regulatory Mechanisms in India
The top biotech regulator in India is Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC). The committee functions as a statutory body under the Environment Protection Act 1986 of the Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF). It was earlier known as Genetic Engineering Approval Committee. Under the EPA 1986 “Rules for Manufacture, Use, Import, Export and Storage of Hazardous Microorganisms/Genetically Engineered Organisms or Cells 1989”, GEAC is responsible for granting permits to conduct experimental and large-scale open field trials and also grant approval for commercial release of biotech crops.
The Rules of 1989 also define five competent authorities i.e. the Institutional Biosafety Committees (IBSC), Review Committee of Genetic Manipulation (RCGM), Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC), State Biotechnology Coordination Committee (SBCC) and District Level Committee (DLC) for handling of various aspects of the rules.
Crop protection is the main rationale behind this type of genetic modification. Plants that are more resistant to diseases spread by insects or viruses result in higher yields for farmers and a more attractive product.
Genetically modification can also increase nutritional value or enhance flavor.
All of these factors contribute to lower costs for the consumer. They can also ensure that more people have access to quality food.
Some people believe that GMO foods have more potential to trigger allergic reactions. This is because they may contain genes from an allergen — a food that prompts an allergic reaction.
Some researchers believe that eating GMO foods can contribute to the development of cancer. They argue that because the disease is caused by mutations in DNA, it is dangerous to introduce new genes into the body.
There is concern that genetic modification, which can boost a crop’s resistance to disease or make it more tolerant to herbicides, could affect the ability of people to defend against illness.
Some GMO plants contain genes that make them resistant to certain antibiotics. This resistance could pass on to humans.
There is growing concern globally that people are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics. There is a chance that GMO foods could be contributing to this crisis.
Outcrossing refers to the risk of genes from certain GMO plants mixing with those of conventional crops.
There have been reports of low levels of GMO crops approved as animal feed or for industrial use being found in food meant for human consumption.
concern for the environment
The capability of the GMO to escape and potentially introduce the engineered genes into wild populations
the persistence of the gene after the GMO has been harvested
the susceptibility of non-target organisms (e.g. insects which are not pests) to the gene product
the stability of the gene
the reduction in the spectrum of other plants including loss of biodiversity and increased use of chemicals in agriculture.
The environmental safety aspects of GM crops vary considerably according to local conditions
It is too early to conclude weather GM food good or bad,it requires more research on it.But for sure we can say that it has more disadvantages than the advantages.
Best way to be healthy is eating natural or organic food which will benefit everyone on this planet.