Click on image to update the captcha.
Username or email*
Lost your password? Please enter your email address. You will receive a link and will create a new password via email.
You must login to ask question.
To adopt or not to adopt genetically modified (GM) foods into regular diet is one subject that has elicited intense argument in political, social, and academic circles. Proponents and opponents of this prime subject have taken their respective stands on the extremes with the proponents claiming that this is a promising technology with a potential to feed the rapidly growing populations world over and address persistent hunger problems.
The opponents on the other side have a skeptical view of this technological advancement claiming that there are no satisfactory data to underscore the safety of the GM foods. This has necessitated aggressive research in this field with governments and organizations pouring billions of dollars in funding into the research firms in order to get conclusive bearing on the safety of GM foods.
Health is wealth and anything that would try to jeopardize it must be suppressed vehemently. To this effect, many people hold a view that only attested foods that cannot compromise health in any aspect should be released to the public domain for consumption.
According to Whitman (2000), GM organisms are those plants or animals that have been manipulated by biotechnological processes to suppress undesired traits and express the desired ones. The undesired traits may include susceptibility to diseases, drought intolerance, poor yields, or even longer growth periods.
Identified genes capable of reversing these traits are isolated and transferred to the target organism so that it starts to express the desired traits like higher yields and shorter growth periods, weed and disease resistance, drought and salinity resistance and so forth. These genes can be from one plant to a different plant or non-plant target and vice versa.
Whitman (ibid) further enumerates several claimed advantages of this technology including;
• Disease tolerance (fungal, viral and bacterial).
• Cold tolerant plants with antifreeze gene from polar fish to be adapted for growing in cold areas.
• Drought and saline resistant crops.
• Improved nutrient value of certain crops for example iron rich and vitamin A biofortified rice varieties
• Vaccine embedded bananas to reduce cost of vaccine production and storage because this will eliminate the need for expensive equipment and special handling conditions
• Borrowing from Biotechnology journal (2000, Vol 18, No 2), she cites that “…poplar trees have been genetically engineered to clean up heavy metal pollution from contaminated soil.”
Many researchers have however presented research findings that highlight some imminent dangers posed by GM foods. Hill et al (1993) and Sayanova et al (1999) in their different studies observed metabolic disruption and unpredictable development of toxic compounds to be the case with genetically produced tryptophan and g-linolenic acid.
Liener in a 1994 study discovered that “phytoestrogens, glucinins and phytic acid were also found to cause infertility problems in sheep and cattle” (Dona and Arvanitoyannis, 2009).
According to Conner et al (2003), Taylor and Hefle (2002), genetically modified crops may trigger serious immunological reactions and cause some serious allergenic reactions in people (Dona and Arvanitoyannis, 2009).
Li et al in their 1994 study discovered that rats fed exclusively on GM rice had significantly altered body weights. This finding was corroborated by Seralini et al’s 2007-study result that was also investigating rats fed on GM corn (Mon 863). They discovered in their study that “Mon 863 corn affected the development of red blood cells… with fewer immature red blood cells and changes in blood chemistry in rats” (ibid).
Pusztai et al (2003) study results showed high mortality rates in rats fed on GM tomatoes with seven mysterious deaths out of the forty-two study animals in just two weeks. Ermakova, (2005) also observed a high mortality rates of the test animals. In his study, the death rate of the rats stood at a marked 56%.
Defler and Schubbert in their 1998 study discovered traces of M13DNA in the organs of fetuses and newborn rats when the GM food was given to the pregnant rats. This finding suggests a congenital transfer route and uncovers the unprecedented fears of the dangers posed to the unborn.
Chan et al (1998) expressed their fears on the dangers of GM foods suggesting that proliferation of cancer cells may be stimulated effectively by absorption of IGF-1.
Registration of the dairy cattle is done to ascertain their ancestry and production traits. It is done by the Kenya Livestock Breeders Organization (KLBO) through the Kenya Stud Book.
You can download the PDF here. Mirror download.