When I think about genetically modified crops, there are several question appearing in my brain. Are they healthy for people to eat? Are some blogs which argue that genetically modified crops are harmful true? Can we eat genetically modified crops every day? Knowing nothing about genetically modified crops make me a little scared about them. So I decide to learn more about them.
After searching I find that, as David H. Freedman said, the large majority of the exploration on genetically modified crops suggests that they are safe to eat and that they have the potential to feed millions of people worldwide who currently go hungry. In order to find the risks and benefits of GM (genetically modified) crops, scientists have to do a set of accurate researches and analysis. The GM food is a high-risk experiment conduct by our scientists; the GM technology may a big break though in scientific world but when it comes to the food safety for human species. The GM crops may not cause some problem right now but in the few hundreds of years once when irreversible recessive mutation massively occur in human DNA; the extinction of human will come in the near future. But, to some extent, only if we handle the GM technology correctly. This technology will lead to another new evolution.
Recently most of corn and soybeans grown in U.S. are genetically modified. The benefits of GM crops greatly outweigh the health risks, which maintain theoretically. As David Zilberman who is a U.C. Berkeley agricultural and environmental economist said, the GM crops utilization “has lowered the price of food” and “it has increased farmer safety by allowing them to use less pesticide. It has raised the output of corn, cotton and soy by 20 to 30 percent, allowing some people to survive who would not have without it. If it were more widely adopted around the world, the price [of food] would go lower, and fewer people would die of hunger.” David Schubert, an Alzheimer’s researcher who heads the Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, Calif indicates that there are many different methods for a well-characterized gene to get into the genome of some target plants.
However, it doesn’t mean that GM crops do not have any negative effects. Actually we just don’t have enough evidence of their risks. From SC200, we learn that it is very difficult to prevent from all confounding variables. So if people want to know about the long-term effects of GM foods, they have to avoid many confounding factors such as the underlying genetic variability in foods and the problems in evaluating the influence of foods. What’s more, more recent, more complex GM foods are more difficult to evaluate. And it is hard to predict their spontaneous impacts.
According to The State of Food and Agriculture 2003-2004, the main food safety concerns associated with transgenic products and foods derived from them relate to the possibility of increased allergens, toxins or other harmful compounds; horizontal gene transfer particularly of antibiotic-resistant genes; and other unintended effects. Many of these concerns also apply to crop varieties developed using conventional breeding methods and grown under traditional farming practices. So as a conclusion, scientists still need to assess that whether GM crops have direct and indirect health benefits.