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Discuss the impact of genetically-modified food on the quality of human health. In this globalization era, the science genetic engineering has been dominating the technology world by introducing a new way to manipulate an organism by modifying them for human purposes which is known as the genetically modified organism. Genetically modified (GM) food is one of the examples of this modification where the genes of GM foods are altered by taking out the DNA of an organism and inserted that particular gene into the DNA of another organism (Goodyear-Goodyear-Smith, 2001). Many questions have been raised regarding this issue in relation to the safety and the impact of these GM foods on the quality of human health since it was established as the issue of genetic engineering that involved on human has attained enormous acclaim as well as great opposition too (Amand, 2004). An absolute perceptive of risks of GM foods should incorporate the benefits of GM foods that accompany those risks. Genetically modified foods are likely to cause adverse health effects due the distinctive nature of these foods where the genes transferred between species during their production and the potential erratic result of transgene effects.
GM foods can cause adverse health effects on human as it can increase the exposure of allergic reaction of human to the GM foods. Since GM foods involve the transfer genes that might code the proteins that from the host food to the new products are normally absent, there are large proportions that transferring genes to the food product can alter to some degree which the product can cause allergic reactions in susceptible people (Nottingham, 2003). According to Lehrer (2000), new allergens can be introduced due to the new gene expression in any products as small traces of allergen can trigger physiology reactions. The process of transferring a food allergen can cause sensitive peoples to invoke allergic reactions to which they had no adverse response before. For instance, when soybeans used gene from nuts that coded for methionine which soybeans lack this amino acid, causing a major food allergen was transferred from nuts to soya beans, Brazilian tends to response related allergic reactions to the nut themselves (Nottingham, 2003).
GM food also can pose harm to the quality of human health as it can increases human resistance to antibiotics due to the universal practice of using antibiotic resistant genes as the marker genes in the foods (Nottingham, 2003). Genes that confer bacteria are transferred by using marker gene to identify the desired gene where these markers that are antibiotic-resistance genes will reproduce the transformed cells resistant to an antibiotic that is toxic to untransformed cells which means that antibiotic can used to kill off the cells that have not undergone genetically modified process (Halford & Shewry, 2000). This antibiotic-resistance will then transfer to other organism including microbes that inhabit human and might transferred to bacteria living in the humans guts although the gene marker will be turned off (Goodyear-Smith,2001). Based on Nottingham (2003), the efficiency of antibiotic drug treatment can decrease as selection pressure will favour bacteria containing antibiotic-resistance during antibiotic treatment as it will be dominating the gut.
On the other hand ,GM foods which the genetic makeup were altered by scientists may have a greater comportment on quality of human health as it can improve the health-promoting effects of foods by developing food that have medicinal properties (Goodyear-Smith, 2001). GM foods that are usually designated for intervention of disease such as there are some GM foods produce where lactose milk is reduce for those who are lactose intolerance (Whitelaw, 1999). GM foods that are consumed in daily diet can contribute to disease prevention too due to their modification as a functional food, for instance addition of plant sterols to margarine for cardiac protection (Goodyear-Smith, 2001).
GM foods that are produced via the technology can increase the nutritional value of food since GM foods are developed as specialized nutraceuticals food which provide some potential benefits to human health.GM foods introduced improvement of nutrition due to increase number of populations that has major nutritional deficiency in them (Goodyear-Smith , 2001). According to Ye et al. (2000), vitamin A and iron deficiency that are common in Third World countries can cause morbidity and mortality considering rice is the staple food for most of the world populations. For instance, standard milled Indica rice has low content of vitamin A. Thus , golden rice had been introduced where the strain of rice were developed with increased of iron content and ÎÂ²-carotene , the precursor of vitamin A with the aim to provide a low-cost accessible form of deficiencies supplement.
As a conclusion, with the use of technology as adoption to produce GM foods, unforeseen effect may also hold some unknown level of risk as partial knowledge of the GM factors can direct to an deficient knowledge of possible risks(Amand, 2004). Another point to think of that whether benefits of GM foods to human can overshadow the risks of GM foods to human or not.