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Should Genetically Modified Organisms Be Banned?

Genetic engineering has been around since its discovery in 1973, but it's only recently the world has been questioning its validity to the planet and particularly to the health of humans. To genetically alter something takes the manipulation of its genes. This can be done by inserting or deleting a different gene or by manipulating it. Genetically Modified Organisms or GMOs have been used in the pharmaceutical arena and have helped humans by modifying many drugs for a better use or outcome; however, scientists have gone a step further and are now genetically altering fish, mammals, plants and many food crops.

While most people don't seem to be bothered by a genetically altered mouse or a fish that can "glow," many people are questioning the long term effects on our health through GMOs like plants, food and even cattle. While genetically engineering a plant to produce a bluish-coloured rose may be pretty and most likely harmless, people are concerned with the long-term effects of changing normal fruits, vegetables and even our meat sources into something, perhaps, less than healthy.

Most of the plant/food GMOs have been in the large crops that produce soybean, canola, corn and cottonseed oil. These food-items are being designed to be resistant to certain pathogens, herbicides and also to boost their nutrient content. This all sounds good, but people are concerned about whether there will be negative affects in the future, to the point where many people refuse to indulge in anything that hasn't been grown naturally with its own original set of DNA makeup.

Not only are people wary of GMOs for their own health, but the way in which animals are being genetically toyed with may be construed by animal rights activists has cruel and unnecessary. Chinese scientists in 2012, successfully altered dairy cow calves to produce a low lactose milk; however, to get healthy "specimens" many of the calves died immediately after their birth.

Science will continue to march forward and where it ends up is left to be determined. The question we have to ask ourselves as individual consumers is, are we ready to eat a genetically altered food? Some day this decision may be placed in front of us in the produce section with all sorts of Frankenstein Fruit...kiwapples or perhaps a basket of strawcranberries?

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