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Genetically Modified Food

Genetically Modified Food

Genetically Modified Food

Modern genetic biotechnology in crops facilitates the movement of genetic components across unconnected species, which is impossible with traditional approaches to breeding crops. The intentional transfer of genetic elements, in turn, causes scientists to experiment with this approach on plants (Prakash et al.). In essence, the technique of genetic engineering allows scientists to locate individual genes that show precise characteristics and isolate them from the source, then transfer them directly into animal cells, crops, bacteria, or viruses. These biotechnological opportunities cause greater public and government scrutiny and regulations (Prakash et al.). Environmental use of microorganisms varies widely, entailing DNA technique applications to facilitate advanced genetically produced microorganisms during seed inoculants. However, the introduction of foreign species into the environment could result in unintended environmental adverse effects furthering more distinct ecological responsibilities than wild plants (Prakash et al.). Therefore, the assessment of environmental and health risks requires a cautious approach due to the introduction of recombinant organisms in the natural existence of crops. Genetically Modified (GM) foods should not continue to be integrated into the world’s food market because they can cause health and environmental risks, and due to DNA alterations, there are uncertainties relating to future consequences of plantation and consumption of GM foods on natural species and ecological systems.

The impact on the transfer of genes is unknown and unpredictable and thus may result in bio-threat. The genetic modification enables the transfer of genetic components from any microorganism into crops or other organisms, causing varying results and unpredictable gene expression alteration. Moreover, the gene sequence and its effects on the donor organism have a well-characterized function in the organism from which it is separated (Kuiper et al. 1670). Consequently, the process can cause the integration of gene copies and rearrangement or deletion of gene sequences resulting from instability, interference, and lack of function of genes with other gene operations. This can result in potential risks that are either predictable or unpredictable with the release of GMOs in open surroundings (Tzotzos et al. 45). As such, each gene can control various characteristics in one organism and have impacts on the overall genome of the host, causing unintended adverse effects. In this case, predicting the risks involved with this type of genetic mutation is challenging.

World Conservation Union (Tsioumani p. 279) illustrates several environmental risks that can happen due to the application of GMOs in an environment:

  • Follow-up impossibility- The introduction of GMOs into the environment causes the rise of various problems that can be impossible to eradicate. Most of the risks are similar to the incurred problems from integrating naturally bred species.
  • Horizontal transfer of recombinant genes to other microorganisms through transformation or conjugation can confer a wide range of characteristics in another organism. Inherently, becoming a source of potential threat to people’s health or disrupts the environment (Heuer & Smalla 10). Recent evidence derived from horizontal gene transfer technology shows that transgenic DNA in genetically modified crops and food can spread directly through viruses, bacteria, or animal and human cells (Yoshida et al. 1128). Besides, horizontal gene transfer migrating from nuclear monocot into the eudicot genome parasite infects numerous grass populations in Africa (Yoshida et al. 1128).

Ethical considerations center on the fear that technology is overstepping a moral boundary that allows nature to take its course. Crossing plant breeds appears as a natural process, but using genetic modification biotechnology seems unnatural because it crosses the moral limit. As such, this ethical quandary causes the fear of uncertainty based on the outcome of the process; thus, there underlies a concern regarding the confidence people have in the application of agricultural biotechnology (Stewart et al. p. 836). The procedure applied to create the GM crop developed controversy over the issues of unintended health and environmental consequences. For instance, in the early 1990s, the introduction of unfamiliar genetically engineered crops resulted in establishing precautionary measures that question whether the issue lies in the GM process or the product containing a new characteristic (Prakash et al.). When assessing the risk, some people may view agricultural biotechnology as a mere gene transfer that is an evolution of the initial crop through breeding methods. However, this appears as an invalid claim because of the substantial difference in alterations that can happen in DNA modifications.

Due to changes in crop DNA, GM crops have the potential to trigger new forms of allergic reactions and gene transfer. Principally, gene transfer from organisms having allergic reactions to non-allergic plants is not encouraged unless the scientist demonstrates that protein products of the transferred gene in non-allergic. GM crops may contain genes from an allergenic organism; thus, the World Health Organization (WHO) discourages biotechnology genetic engineering that uses DNA from allergens (Tzotzos et al. 50). More so, gene transfer from GM products to cells in human bodies or the presence of new bacterial in the gastrointestinal tract causes concern if the transferred genetic product negatively affects people’s health. This claim could be relevant if the transfer of antibiotic-resistance genes, applied as markers when developing GMOs, occurs. Although there is a minute chance that genes in consumption products can transfer to body cells of bacteria in the gut, some GMO crops comprise genes that cause resistance to various antibiotics. This can cause the resistance to pass on to people affecting their ability to resist or protect themselves against diseases.

Outcrossing is another issue that could arise from the process of genetically modified food. Genes can migrate from GM plants into conventional crops or other species in the uninhabited. Also, there is the risk of mixing plants originating from conventional seeds with GM crops causing an indirect effect on food security and safety. As a result, there exist reports where GM crops approved for animal consumption are detected in products for human feed. However, several nations have taken measures to reduce crop mixing requiring the farmers to include separation of fields where GM crops and conventional plants grow (Howse & Horn 65). Transgenic plants diverge in their propensity to outcross, and the capability to do this relies on existing sexually compatible wild plants that vary based on location. Therefore, whether or not the flow of genes occurs between transgenic crops and wild plants, the resulting hybrid may have a competitive edge over the wild plant population causing potential disruption of the ecosystem (Tzotzos et al. 56). Another potential harm to the environment derived from transgenic traits is the growth of pesticide toxins from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) genes that affect non-targeted species and crop pests.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) studied GM crops’ potential benefits and risks, especially the transgenic herbicide-resistant trait, and found it could result in weed control risks. As such, the repetitive use of one type of herbicide changes weed flora since it needs to evolve biotypes, which are resistant to the herbicides linked to transgenic crops bred to tolerate these herbicides. Furthermore, the flow of genes occurs by spreading genes through pollen and outcrossing from the herbicide-resistant plants to the weed species (Johnson et al. 4). Thus, in the absence of a precise herbicide, this trait possession is unlikely to increase the strength of the weeds. Still, the herbicide’s continual use will increase unwanted plant growth, further reducing herbicide resistance’s economic advantages (Tzotzos et al. 60). Following this argument, the risk of gene transfer is higher in regions of diversification requiring environmental care put in place to ensure native germplasm, which includes weed and wild plant relatives, remains unaffected through the transfer of herbicide-resistant genetic factor.

Another environmental issue resulting from genetic biotechnology is GM fish. In the fisheries industry, there are increased levels of GMO rates causing great environmental risks as scientists concentrate on genetic pollution, predation, and competition. Substantially, GM fish are likely to cause environmental risk due to their high rates of feeding on other aqua species (Tzotzos et al. 62). That is, the bigger the environmental tolerance, which paves the way for them to enter into new territories and displace the existing native populations as well as increase the potential for genetic mixing with other animals (Hill 68). Consequently, GM fish may alter the composition of the natural existence of fish species. More so, the alien fish population and genotypes used globally, like tilapia and salmon, demonstrate similar risks. It calls for the need to establish a standard measure when evaluating the risks of GMOs agricultural for aquatic species, which are foreign to the local ecosystem. The evaluation can use an ecosystem approach that monitors the spreading of effects once the GM species are exposed to water.

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) opposition fundamentally lies in the fear that these foods may be unsafe for human consumption and could pose a threat to the environment. However, it is essential to recognize that technology and science play a key role in opening up new opportunities to address the shortage of food globally. Considering the risks presented, it is almost impossible to recognize any benefits derived from transgenic plants often grown today as GM crops use increased levels of chemicals such as glyphosate, which are toxic to people and the environment. Moreover, these chemicals contaminate food, soil quality, and water supply and increase crop illness vulnerability. Ultimately, it causes an increase in the use of pesticides that further upsets the environment.

Works Cited

Hill, Ryan A. “Conceptualizing risk assessment methodology for genetically modified organisms.” Environmental Biosafety Research 4.2 (2005): 67-70.

Heuer, H., & Smalla, K. (2007). Horizontal gene transfer between bacteria. Environmental biosafety research6(1-2), 3-13.

Howse, R. L., & Horn, H. (2009). European communities–measures affecting the approval and marketing of biotech products. World Trade Review8(1), 49-83.

Johnson, Katy L., et al. “How does scientific risk assessment of GM crops fit within the wider risk analysis?.” Trends in plant science 12.1 (2007): 1-5.

Kuiper, Harry A., and Howard V. Davies. “The SAFE FOODS risk analysis framework suitable for GMOs? A case study.” Food Control 21.12 (2010): 1662-1676.

Prakash, Dhan, et al. “Risks and Precautions of Genetically Modified Organisms.” ISRN Ecology 2011 (2011).

Stewart Jr, C. Neal, Harold A. Richards IV, and Matthew D. Halfhill. “Transgenic plants and biosafety: science, misconceptions and public perceptions.” Biotechniques 29.4 (2000): 832-843.

Tzotzos, G. T., Head, G. P., & Hull, R. (2010). Principles of risk assessment. Genetically Modified Plants2009, 33-63.

Tsioumani, Elsa. “Genetically modified organisms in the EU: Public attitudes and regulatory developments.” Rev. Eur. Comp. & Int’l Envtl. L. 13 (2004): 279.

Yoshida, Satoko, et al. “Horizontal Gene Transfer By The Parasitic Plant Striga hermonthica.” Science 328.5982 (2010): 1128-1128.


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Essay #2 Prompt-ENGL 301B

TOPIC: Choose a topic from the provided list


Genetically Modified Food

Genetically Modified Food

A research paper is more than the sum of your sources, more than a collection of different pieces of information, and more than a review of the literature in a field. A research paper analyzes perspectives and argues a point. Your finished paper should present your own thinking backed up by others’ ideas and information. In other words, your research paper is an expanded essay that presents your own evaluation, interpretation, and argument on a topic.

Research at least five sources, and compose a paper focusing on a specific aspect of a particular issue. Considering that a research paper is also thesis driven and supported by reliable sources; think of this paper as entering a conversation from an informed standpoint.

General guidelines:

  • Perform effective and thorough research. Make sure to perform a significant amount of exploration before fully committing to a topic.
  • Analyze the topic by breaking it down into pieces in order to inspect and understand it, and to reconstruct those parts in a way that makes sense to you. In this type of essay, you do research to become particularly knowledgeable on a topic so that you can reconstruct and present the parts of the topic from your own perspective.
  • The answer to the primary question is the basis of your working thesis. Remember that the thesis may change slightly as you further research and compose your essay. The thesis is the driving point of your argument.
  • Provide necessary background information. Early in the essay, provide a brief overview of your topic for clarification of your argument. Consider that the reader knows little about your topic.
  • Focus on organization and transitions. While organization and transitions are important in any type of essay, they are particularly important in a research paper because it involves multiple reasons and evidence to support the overall thesis. The paper should explain and support several reasons why the argument is valid as well as explain and refute several opposing arguments.




  • Your essay must be at least 3500 words (5 pages in length) and typed in standard12-point font, double-spaced.
  • The format must follow MLA guidelines (Refer to Rules for Writers).
  • You may use direct quotations (no more than three lines) or paraphrased or summarized information from your sources.
  • All information from your sources must be properly cited in-text in MLA format.
  • Your essay must have a title, but a separate title page is not necessary.
  • Your essay must end with a “Works Cited” PAGE.
  • You must attach a copy of the Out of Class Essay Rubric to your essay. (page 5 of this handout)

Choose from these two topics:

  • Should genetically modified (GM) food continue to be integrated into the world’s food market?

Secondary questions to consider are as follows: What are the effects of GMOs on health and the environment? Who is Monsanto?

Here is the link to a primer reading. This is intended to give you general knowledge of the topic and can be used as a source. Other credible core sources are your responsibility to find.

“Genetic Engineering.” Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection. Detroit: Gale, 2014. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 29 Sept. 2016.

  • Should the U.S. grant amnesty to undocumented immigrants?

Secondary questions to consider are as follows: What is the history of amnesty? Whom does it affect? What are some of the recent events that make this issue topical?

Here is the link to a primer reading. This is intended to give you general knowledge of the topic and can be used as a source. Other credible core sources are your responsibility to find.

“Amnesty.” Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection, Gale, 2016. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, Accessed 4 Oct. 2017.

Essay 2 Outline

The Introduction

  1. Thesis Statement: Clearly state the topic and your position on the topic in one sentence.

The Body

  1. Topic sentence: Clearly present the point to be developed in this paragraph

List the evidence you will present to support your point, also list any sources to be used



  • Topic sentence: Clearly present the point to be developed in this paragraph

List the evidence you will present to support your point, also list any sources to be used



  1. Topic sentence: Clearly present the point to be developed in this paragraph

List the evidence you will present to support your point, also list any sources to be used



  1. Topic sentence: Clearly present the point to be developed in this paragraph

List the evidence you will present to support your point, also list any sources to be used



  1. Topic sentence: Clearly present the point to be developed in this paragraph

List the evidence you will present to support your point, also list any sources to be used



  • Topic sentence: Clearly present the point to be developed in this paragraph

List the evidence you will present to support your point, also list any sources to be used




  • Concluding comments: Briefly list possible concluding comments.

301B Out of Class Essay Rubric                 


  • Topic and purpose are clear.
    The essay is consistently focused on the topic.
  • The essay responds to all aspects of the assignment.
  • The Writer’s point of view is present and clear.


  • The thesis statement is clear, interesting and compelling.
    All body paragraphs have clear, single main points.
  • All parts of the essay relate to the overarching focus and purpose.
    Transitional devices of some kind guide readers through the text.
    The ending brings the essay to closure with some appropriate method.

The significance of the topic is clear and assumptions are recognized and made explicit.

  • Ideas are developed thoroughly, deeply and demonstrate complexity of thought.
    Analysis is logical, consistent, and well-developed.
    Any source material is integrated smoothly and analyzed and synthesized.
    The writer integrates his/her examples and analysis.
    The writer acknowledges, respects, and represents accurately other points of view.
  • Conclusions follow logically from claims and the evidence presented.

The writing demonstrates control of sentence structure, vocabulary and mechanics

  • Errors do not impede meaning to any significant degree.
    Sources are appropriately cited and identified according to MLA Style.
    The form, tone and voice of the essay are appropriate for the writer’s purpose.
    (Rubric Adapted from Composition SCO Measurable Objectives)

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