The critical rule of nature asserts life sustenance through reproduction process to preserve the biological species. This rule applies to all living creatures from single-celled organisms to humans. The most fundamental pre-requisite to species conservation is the provision of adequate quantities of essential nutritional components comprising of biologically-active regulatory substances, energy and protein. The deficit of these critical nutritional elements could lead to population reduction, whilst an adequate supply of these nutrients ensures life sustenance. Historical events have continually proven humans’ urge to resolve the crucial problem of consistent food provision. Humanity has incorporated diverse approaches to address this challenge, including the integration of genetic engineering technologies to manufacture genetically-altered foods that are considered to be more nutritional, more delicious, and economical. Nonetheless, these foods can contribute to health conditions, increase the transmission of diseases across species, and promote pest resistance.
Why We Should Not interfere with Nature
Genetically-altered foods are developed because of several perceived benefits to the consumers and manufacturers. Agricultural biotechnology has been utilized to enhance pest resistance of plants. The infusion of a bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) has been correlated with improved pest resistance. Hence, plants that contain this bacterium require reduced amounts of peripheral pesticides. With this genetic modification, plant production becomes more convenient and less costly. Therefore, there is decreased environmental pollution, which is beneficial for producers and farmers. Genetic engineering develops crops that are resistant to herbicides, including cotton, corn, and soybean, which minimizes expenses and ecological impact. Plants can undergo modification to enhance their disease resistance capabilities. In turn, farmers are able to maximize their yield output. These foods contain added nutrients such as Vitamin A that is incorporated into plants such as Golden Rice. GM plants are modified to withstand extended periods of drought and high salinity. They are also utilized in phytoremediation that enables the detoxification of groundwater. They preserve natural resources and aid in addressing global food demands.
Alternatively, there are multiple risks associated with GM plants. For instance, they have an increased likelihood of causing allergies compared to conventional food groups. Scientists are generally concerned whether the herbicides and pesticides will remain effectual; meanwhile, weeds are increasingly becoming resistant. Outcrossing that involves the transfer of genetic material between plants of different species may interfere with the resistance of crops (Kamthan, Chaudhuri, Kamthan, & Datta, 2016). Weeds and other unwanted plants are likely to become more resistant due to the exchange of herbicide-resistant genes. In fact, several studies have affirmed that GM crops have increased the use of pesticides, herbicides, and in several cases, the yield outputs had significantly decreased (Massachusetts Medical Society, 2015). Although biotechnology is moderately precise, there is the possibility of random insertion within the host gene, which may lead to phenotypic or genetic incompatibilities. Currently, the complete comprehension of the interactions between cellular structures and of immune responses in order to understand GM food interactions with the immune system has not been exhausted. However, research in this area is in progress. There is high probability of the quantities of anti-nutrients significantly increasing. Anti-nutrients are elements that disrupt the use of nutrients. The infusion of new genetic material may elevate the levels of existing anti-nutrients, in turn, leading to the decreased availability of particular nutrients constituting zinc and phosphorus.GM plants are associated with an increased risk for biodiversity loss and increased use of agricultural chemicals that could degrade the environment. This can be attributed to the unintended harm they cause to non-target organisms such as insects, birds, and fish. The introduction of GM plants to markets is an extensive and costly undertaking. GM activists regularly assert that there is no verification that GM foods in the market pose any adverse effects, either from potential allergies or the presence of toxins (Strauss, 2018). During the breeding of plants, genes may undergo mutations with chemicals or radiation to increase the probabilities of acquiring a desirable phenotype. This kind of manipulation is likely to introduce mutations into genome that are not directly selected. The exchange of DNA material prompts differently in plant and animal species. These conditions may lead to unintended alterations to the composition of organisms. Critics of genetically modified products assert that GMO materials that are released into the food chain have reported and potential effects on the environment and thus may indirectly impact human safety and health (Pearsonhighered.com, 2020). Consumer representatives are also concerned that patenting new plant varieties will substantially increase the costs of seeds, which will negatively impact on small farmers and developing nations. There is uncertainty as to the health conditions that may result from the long-term consumption of GM plants.
GM plants are essential in addressing global food demand; however, the potential risks outweigh the benefits. Studies should be conducted without any conflicts of interest. GM plants anywhere in the food chain have the potential to reach human beings, and any of its ecological effects will eventually impact humans. Limited confirmation regarding the safety of GM plants is not complete assurance that the foods are safe. Further monitoring and assessment should be performed.