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Impacts of Genetically Modified Food on Health | Literature

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Source 1: Genetically Modified Foods

Reference

Genetically Modified Foods: Harmful or Helpful? April 2000

Written by: Deborah Whitman

[ONLINE] Available at: http://www.csa.com/discoveryguides/gmfood/overview.php.

[Accessed 19 October 2013]

Summary

GM foods and crops refer to those plants created for human consumption using the latest molecular biology techniques. The plants have been modified to enhance desired traits such as increased resistance to herbicides or improved nutritional content. Genetic engineering, can create plants with the exact desired trait much faster and with better accuracy than that of conventional breeding methods.

Malnutrition is common in third world countries where underprivileged people rely on a single crop or grain as the main staple of their diet. However, these grains may not contain adequate amounts of each necessary nutrient required to prevent deficiency diseases like malnutrition. Bio-engineering of food can help prevent these problems as the staple food may be enhanced so as to contain additional vitamins and minerals.

Many people feel that genetic engineering is the inevitable trend of the future and that we cannot afford to ignore a technology that has such enormous potential benefits. However, we must proceed with caution to avoid causing unintended harm to human health.

Validity

The information sets out to answer my research question from both sides of the argument, it takes into account both the positive and negatives in regard to this idea. This unbiased opinion makes the information both credible and valid. The website is copyrighted and as a result the information presented is both protected and valid for the argument. The article is written by someone who has researched the subject thoroughly which has shown a strong association to my subject, and that the information presented has been done so after researching and reflecting on the subject.

Reliability

The information provided is consistent with many other sources on the subject matter; this means that both the ideas and facts are reliable and authentic. The author of the article makes use of multiple references throughout, stressing the idea that the data presented is reputable and has in some way been proven through experimentation or scientific understanding of certain things. Each time a fact is presented in the article, there is some form of evidence to show where this information comes from, and this means the information is dependable.

Usefulness

From the source I can clearly determine what genetically modified and engineered crops are, and use this in my discussion. The source is useful in helping me determine whether the positive factors outweigh the negative factors, and our scientific understanding of both. The source is very useful for determining both why this subject is dialectical in nature and where I stand in regards to the issue. As is the case with most subject matters, we can only truly choose a side when we understand that subject matter fully.

Limitations

The source is over 10 years old and as a result the information and statistics may be out dated, as a result I cannot take into account some of the values and laws on the issue. The source sets about explaining a far broader question and as a result the information within it that I can use is restricted, in comparison to the amount of information that is actually in the source.

Source 2: A Review on Impacts of Genetically Modified Food on Human Health

Reference

The Open Nutraceuticals Journal, 2011, Volume 4, Chapters 3-11

A Review on Impacts of Genetically Modified Food on Human Health

Compiled by: Charu Verma, Surabhi Nanda, R.K. Singh, R.B. Singh and Sanjay Mishra

[ONLINE] Available at

http://benthamscience.com/open/tonutraj/articles/V004/3TONUTRAJ.pdf.

[Accessed 19 October 2013]

Summary

The GM crops have certain adverse effects on allergy tolerance in children; Studies show that we are yet to understand the true dangers of genetically modified foods in terms of human health and well-being. Many years after the idea of GM crops, we still lack a complete understanding of the subject.

Although, there are currently some GM food that seem to have very positive effects on human health, especially in poorer countries, examples including Golden Rice and BT Brinjal, which have been tested and approved for public consumption. These foods seem to have positive effects which outweigh their potential adverse effects.

Studies on animals have shown that diets consisting of GM products can cause damage to the organs of the body. Reproductive failure and infant mortality may arise due to the damage caused by the introduction of GM proteins and food sources.

Validity

The document is written by a combination of four authors, all of whom have a wide knowledge on the subject matter, most of who specialise in biotechnology, this means that the information disclosed in the document is of a high factual standard and has a valid role to play in my task. The work has been released as a factual document and as a result is extremely credible in terms of my investigative question. The document sets out to explain both the potential harm and benefit of GM foods.

Reliability

The document scrutinizes the facts from both sides and criticises certain areas and ideas, this means that the information comes from a knowledgeable source. The source makes reference to multiple experiments and uses the published results as a platform to create sound analysis of the subject matter. In the acknowledgements it is made clear that the authors have studied and worked with GM foods for a large portion of time, a professional opinion is most likely to be a reliable one. The information is consistent with other sources and the references provided.

Usefulness

The source is very useful as it not only explains the adverse and positive effects of GM crops, but provides me with examples that I may make reference to, to argue my point. The reference to certain experiments on animals also provides some information in an area that we do not fully understand i.e. the negative effects on the human body. The information is concise, yet there is a lot of valuable information present under each topic in the document. The source is useful in the way that it guides me to use facts in determining the advantageous nature of GM crops or the contrasting idea.

Limitations

The source does not fully answer my question as it doesn’t provide me with reasons as to why GM crops have certain positive and negative effects. It explains very effectively what these effects are, yet the source does not iterate on why they happen or what causes them to happen. This means there is not complete transparency.

Source 3: Potential Health Effects of Foods Derived from Genetically Modified Plants: What are the issues?

Reference

TWN Biotechnology and Biosafety Series 14 2008

Potential Health Effects of Foods Derived from Genetically Modified Plants: What are the issues?

Written By: Arpad Pusztai and Susan Bardocz

[ONLINE] Available at: http://www.twnside.org.sg/title2/biosafety/pdf/bio14.pdf.

[Accessed 20 October 2013]

Summary

The nature of bio-engineering brings rise to an argument on whether or not its benefits outweigh the harmful effects. With careful consideration, it can be seen that both sides have a solid argument in this case, and as a result, in depth studies must be conducted, to scientifically prove which tips the balance.

It is for this reason that multiple tests and experiments have been done to test each possible side effect as well as each possible health benefit, and it is only through these that we can see the nature of GM foods on both human and animal health. The testing of the foods chemical composition, toxicology reports in animals, diet comparisons and affect not only on the individual themselves, but the effect GM foods have on child birth.

The nature of DNA and its effect on the body is very dangerous, the body attacks foreign material, and this would be very negative in the case of the food we consume, as we would have large concentrations of foreign DNA in the body at all times, and this causes antagonistic effects in the human body.

In the light of these problems one can ask whether the future of the present generation of GM foods rests on solid scientific foundations. The question then arises whether or not there is sufficient food for feeding the world population.

Validity

This article best answers or provides the best information required for my research question, the views within are unbiased and take into account the pros and cons of each and sets about proving or disproving each of them. It not only explains what the positive and negative effects on human health GM foods have, but also sets out to find a solution to such problems that may arise, or we currently have. The information disclosed is from a Biotechnology institute, which means that the information is in some way proven or heavily thought out.

Reliability

The source makes use of multiple other sources to back up certain things with solid evidence. This source, not only provides information that conforms to other sources with facts that have been proven to be true, all be it in a far more comprehensive manner. The authors themselves are professionals I the field and have a reliable knowledge on the subject of biotechnology and bio-engineering.

Usefulness

This source was very useful in providing both facts and reasons as to the damage that GM foods can cause and have been tested to cause to animal subjects, as well as productive examples of GM foods that have been manipulated to have nutritious properties. The source was useful because it managed to develop a conclusion and possible solution to feeding the ever increasing population of the world, but doing so in a way that is ethical and healthy.

Limitations

The source may in fact be too comprehensive, it takes into account far more scenarios and situation than is probably necessary to take a stand and explain why to favour one side of the argument over the other. I feel that some of the information may be repeated multiple times, and that some points in the source become redundant due. The overwhelming amount of information may in fact restrict the amount of important information I could extract from it. Source 4: Health Hazards of Genetically Engineered Foods

Reference

Health Hazards of Genetically Engineered Foods

Written By: Stephen Lendman 22 February 2008

[ONLINE] Available at: http://www.rense.com/general80/haz.htm.

[Accessed 20 October 2013]

Summary

The article discusses the potential health risks of GM foods, using evidence from Jeffrey Smith’s ‘Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods.’ It places an emphasis on the food we as individuals eat every day and what role GM foods play in that daily diet. In the USA, GM foods have become prevalent in the most foods due to people showing a disregard to the potential harm to human health, in order to make food for a cheaper price, and make a larger profit.

It is believed that if a disease where to spread through the consumption of GM foods, we as humans will have no answer to an epidemic of such magnitude, and that through the bio-engineering of foods, it may be very simple as we expose our bodies to foreign proteins and unnatural food sources. It is believed that the adverse effects of GM foods and the introduction of foreign DNA molecules may have a much larger impact than first believed

Validity

The information sets out to answer my research question; however, a large amount of the information is not based on fact, but rather concepts and what people have said. This means that the information is not backed up by scientific proof but rather the opinions on certain individuals this means the presented information is not valid by nature. This bias nature means that the information is not proven and therefore doesn’t seem to have ground to stand on.

Reliability

The document has an advertisement first off, and is not set up in a professional manner, this means that time and effort was not put into presenting the information. The fact that only two sources have been used as a reference shows that these ideas and views are not shared by most people involved with this argument. Making continual reference to a source and not thinking critically of his views shows that the information within the document is not reliable. Although there are some ideas that are shared by those of others, the article seems to focus too heavily on the views of the book by Jeffrey Smith. Facts or ideas presented have no scientific proof or referencing to show where the information was attained from. This means that the information is not trustworthy as it doesn’t show evidence to back up its statements.

Usefulness

The article is useful in the way that it shows me to choose whether I agree o disagree with the practice, and not to sit on the fence. There is some useful information present that compares the GM foods to other positive and negative things. It is useful in the way that it explains long term dangers and effects of GM foods. The source has some fairly recent stats that can be used to explain the prolific occurrence of GM foods and the growing of GM crops in countries around the world in relation to each other

Limitations

The article does not explain the positive side to the growth and consumption of GM foods, but rather places too much emphasis on the problems that may arise. The article lacks a professional insight into the subject matter, and as a result shows some inconsistencies. The effects on human health and causes are not fully explained or built upon, but rather, quotes from the literature are used to substantiate ideas or facts.

Source 5: GM plants for your health

EMBO Reports November 2004

GM plants for your health

Written By: Holger Breithaupt

[ONLINE] Available at:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1299184/.

[Accessed 23 October 2013]

Summary

GM plants and crops may offer more health benefits than just through their consumption, which provides many people with the necessary vitamins, minerals and nutrients they need to survive comfortably, but may also offer medicinal benefits, in genetically modifying plants with certain genes.

The production of GM crops has increased significantly as we begin to further understand the effects they have on human health, and that as we produce more plants that are genetically superior, we are able to raise the living standards of many poorer countries.

The production, however, is one that is controlled in Europe, until proof that the food is safe for human consumption and has no negative effects on human health. It is this practice that seems to be preventing a massive rise in GM food products, but is also helping to monitor the health of the citizens.

Validity

The source provides me with information that is valid for my research question; it provides sound reasons as to the positive aspects of GM crops, and the potential that lies within the manufacturing of genetically enhanced plants and food sources. The source offers little in the way of opposition towards GM crops. Although the source does offer information in the form of the impact on human health, it seems to focus heavily on the growing of GM crops and the availability of land and resources. The work was published and released by scientists, and as a result the information within is valid due to their background in the subject matter.

Reliability

The source makes use of graphs and tables, extracted from other sources which had accumulated the facts; as a result they are very consistent and dependable. The source uses information from doctors and their subject matters, which they research and work with continually. The information corresponds to that of other sources, and makes reference to ideas that have been presented and proven by those other sources, to form a solid argument. The data and information is consistent with that of other professionals in that field. The source is a summary of an analysis of a much larger, more in-depth study.

Usefulness

The source provides different, more research intense positive factors with regards to GM crops, and provides an alternate outlook on my research question, showing the diverse ways these crops may benefit human health, not only in the case of nutrition, but rather in practical, medicinal uses through the process of bio-engineering and genetic construction of not only crops and food, but all plant life.

Limitations

Similarly to source 4, this source does not take into account the opposition to its argument, it does not recognise the other side of the argument. The data and result are from long ago and as a result are probably inconclusive for what the values and percentages currently are. Regulations and our understanding of things change all the time, and it is because of this that the source restricts what i9nformation within it I can use.


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