Genetically Modified Organisms

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Genetically Modified Organisms by Mind Map: Genetically Modified Organisms

1. What are they?


1.1.1. In conventional crop farming, plants are modified through selective breeding of a species to produce offspring with desired traits.

1.1.2. GM plants are typically reproduced using recombinant DNA technologies.

1.1.3. Genetic modification of plants involves altering the species genome at the molecular level. Certain traits are inserted into genes that would not be reproduced easily through conventional methods.

2. Why are people afraid?

2.1. Prakash, C. (2001). The Genetically Modified Crop Debate in the Context of Agricultural Evolution. Plant Physiology, 26(1), 8-16.

2.1.1. Paracelsus: “Every substance is a poison, but it is the dosage that makes it poisonous”

2.1.2. Consumer unfamiliarity, lack of reliable information on the current safeguards in place, a steady stream of negative opinion in the news media, opposition by activist groups, growing mistrust of industry, and a general lack of awareness of how our food production system has evolved all contribute to why GMOs are mistrusted.

2.1.3. The scientific community has not adequately communicated the value in this technology to the public.

2.1.4. Without continued support of the public, the technology could be phased out in agriculture.

2.2. Do we really know everything about the foods we are eating now?

2.2.1. Ames, B., Profet, M., & Gold, L. (1990). Dietary pesticides (99.99% all natural).. PNAS, 87(19), 7777–781. "We consume roughly 5,000 to 10,000 natural toxins daily, as plants have evolved to produce an array of chemicals to protect themselves against pests, diseases, and herbivores."

2.2.2. Ames, B., & Gold, L. (1997). Dietary carcinogens, environmental pollution, and cancer: Some misconceptions. Medical Oncology and Tumor Pharmacotherapy, 7(2-3), 69-85. "...roasted coffee has over 1,000 chemicals, of which 27 have been tested and 19 of them found to be rodent carcinogens."

2.2.3. Ames, B., Profet, M., & Gold, L. (1990). Nature's chemicals and synthetic chemicals: comparative toxicology.. PNAS, 87(19), 7782–786. "The fat-soluble neurotoxins solanine and chaconine are present in potatoes and can be detected in the bloodstream of all potato eaters..."

3. Benefits

3.1. Food History

3.1.1. Trewavas, A. (2010, June 5). GM Is the Best Option We Have. AgBioWorld - Supporting Biotechnology in Agriculture. Retrieved October 13, 2013, from "With each billion that mankind has added to the planet have come technological advances to increase food supply. In the 18th century, the start of agricultural mechanization; in the 19th century knowledge of crop mineral requirements, the eventual Haber Bosch process for nitrogen reduction. In the 20th century plant genetics and breeding, and later the green revolution. Each time population growth has been sustained without enormous loss of life through starvation even though crisis often beckoned. For the 21st century, genetic manipulation is our primary hope to maintain developing and complex technological civilizations."

3.2. Prakash, C. (2001). The Genetically Modified Crop Debate in the Context of Agricultural Evolution. Plant Physiology, 26(1), 8-16.

3.2.1. "An average American family now spends only 11% of its income on food and yet has access to better food choices with more variety and nutrition than ever before."

3.3. Historically, Americans are questioning what they put into their mouth more, now.

3.3.1. Conventional method: Introduce wild species genes to a plant to increase pest resistance. This method adds thousands of genes that can alter toxicity and other harmful side effects. Current conventionally grown crops are not tested or subject to any sort of regulation.

3.3.2. Genetic modification: Scientists know what gene they are including in the crops genome. This method eliminates possible toxic side effects. GMOs are monitored by the FDA, USDA, and EPA.

3.4. Addition of Vitamin A to rice- considered the most important crop for developing areas.

3.5. Fewer pesticides being used on crops.

4. Problems

4.1. Allergenic effects

4.1.1. Dona, A., & Arvanitoyannis, I. (2009). Health Risks of Genetically Modified Foods. Clinical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 49, 164-75. Current GM gene sequencing involves inserting a gene from a different plant, this can change the regulatory proteins in the GMO. The problem arises when the new amino acid sequencing is similar to that of a known allergenic foods. No testing has been done to see the effects in mammals on these new sequences, but some humans have already proven to have gastrointestinal aversion to some plants. Example: Proteins from the Brazil nut was introduced into the soybean and corn to produce Bt resistant crops.

4.2. Toxicity build-up

4.2.1. Antoniou, M., Robinson, C., & Fagan, J. (n.d.). GMO Myths and Truths: An evidence-based examination of the claims made for the safety and efficacy of genetically modified crops . GMO Myths and Truths. Retrieved October 5, 2013, from Mice fed GM soy showed disturbed liver, pancreas, and kidney functions. Mice fed GM soy over their lifetime of 24 months showed acute signs of ageing in the liver than the control group who was fed non-GM soy. Long-term feeding trials on GMOs are not required by regulators anywhere in the world. Long-term is 2 years. Only medium term studies (30-90 days) are required currently.

4.3. Horizontal gene transfer

4.3.1. Jodgeson, J. (2000). Scientists avert new GMO crisis. Nature, 18(13). Retrieved October 5, 2013, from Cauliflower mosaic virus (CAMV 35S) "highly likely" that the CaMV 35S promoter will take part in horizontal gene transfer and recombination and "cause large-scale genomic rearrangements in the process." The authors go on to imply that the promiscuity of the CaMV promoter could enable it to trigger cancer. The promoter, they say, "has the possibility of promoting inappropriate over-expression of genes in all species to which it happens to be transferred. One consequence of such inappropriate over-expression of genes may be cancer."

4.3.2. To bacteria in the gut Antoniou, M., Robinson, C., & Fagan, J. (n.d.). GMO Myths and Truths: An evidence-based examination of the claims made for the safety and efficacy of genetically modified crops . GMO Myths and Truths. Retrieved October 5, 2013, from Bt maize DNA was found in the digestive tract of sheep, unprocessed. Antibiotic resistant gene in maize could experience horizontal gene transfer and produce antibiotic resistant, disease-causing bacteria ("superbugs") in the gut.

4.4. Crop biodiversity

4.4.1. Many high yielding varieties are the most popular. Older heirloom varieties are becoming harder to find.

5. Conclusion

5.1. People fear new technologies and will continue to question it until they feel it is safe.

5.2. Food technologies such as the Pasteurization, the microwave, and food irradiation have been questioned in the past and are now used wide-spread.

5.3. Like any new technology, GMOs in agriculture will need continual monitoring to research the ecological, agricultural, and economical effects.

5.4. Continual modifications need to be made to increase biodiversity.

5.5. An American Philosopher George Santayana: "Ignoring history may condemn us to repeat understanding of the past may as well lead us to an enlightened future."