What are GMOs Genetically modified organisms, also known as GMOs, involve having an organism’s DNA altered by inserting a gene into the nucleus of a cell. In return, this seemingly small change ends up being replicated once the cell divides; these alterations can include having a gene be inserted from an unrelated organism.
GMOs were created with the intentions of solving problems that many agriculture farmers face today. These problems consist of bothersome insects and weeds, the possibility of enhanced nutrition, and the high demand for food for our incessantly increasing population. Some other reasons for the creation of GMOs are food spoilage, soil erosion, and non suitable weather conditions that make it no easy task for our agriculture farmers to grow crops. With no long-term research being done on the risks of GMO foods have on humans, there have been experiments done on animals consuming or the animals themselves, being altered and showing horrible negative effects from GMOs. Many countries around the world have placed a ban GMOs, but the United States has not only implemented the use of GMOs for public consumption but also does not require for GMOs to be labeled for the consumer.
The goal of my paper is to talk about the health risks of GMOs, research to emphasize the potential risks, and the importance of labeling these foods for the safety and knowledge of the public.Historical background of GMOsDating back to the 1950’s James Watson, United States biologist, and Francis Crick, New Zealand physicist, formed a research team at Oxford University in Great Britain. The Watson-Crick model revealed the chemical structure of DNA which has changed scientific research forever. The Watson-Crick model of DNA won a Nobel Peace Prize and allowed for researchers Marshall Nirenberg and Johann Matthaei to decode the processes of which nitrogen bases Adenine, Thymine, Guanine, and Cytosine could lead to a combination of 64 different amino acids. Nirenberg experimented with different combinations of nitrogen bases which lead to the discovery of completing an entire genetic code of amino acids coded for every possible combination of nitrogen bases. This led to the curiosity, questioning, and potential of being able to alter the genetic properties of an organism ( Newton, 15).
When was the first organism engineered and by whomIn the 1970’s, a collaboration between Stanley Cohen and Herbert Boyer presented research on Plasmids, which is DNA that can be found in bacteria. Both Cohen and Boyer presented a discovery that Bacteria could replicate the Plasmid DNA that produces identical replicated offspring. The two ventured off into splicing different bacteria, which later led to two Plasmids being inserted into E. Coli, demonstrating that genetic traits could be transferred between species. Boyer and Cohen’s rDNA discovery led to the curiosity and experimentation of being able to replicate our biological mean of fighting diseases and possibly cure birth defects and disorders.
(https://www.chemheritage.org/historical-profile/herbert-w-boyer-and-stanley-n-cohen) What companies are involved with GMOs now?There are six major companies that are involved with GMOs. These companies and corporations dominate the agriculture market and they are Bayer, Monsanto, BASF, Dupont, Dow Chemical Company, and Syngenta. These companies have a history of being involved areas that do not seem appropriate if one is involved with agriculture. Bayer is a German pharmaceutical company that played a significant role in the reconstruction and development of the economy of Germany and Austria during World War II, also known as Wirtschaftswunder.
They produced chemicals and explosives for World War I and have been noted to have ties with Nazi concentration camps that did experiments on the prisoners. There has also been a major lawsuit filed against Bayer for selling HIV-tainted blood clotting medicine, infecting thousands which led to a settlement for 300$ million. Monsanto is an American agriculture biotechnology company that at point use to produce PCBs (which caused cancer in animals and endocrine disruption). They also produced a chemical for the herbicidal warfare program, Agent Orange, during the Vietnam War that has caused various cancers and deformities in offspring in the veterans affected by the chemical.
DuPont, whom the Dow Chemical Company has merged with to create DowDuPont Inc, was a former gunpowder mill. DowDuPont claims to place an importance on seeds and crop protection, but what does gunpowder have to do with agriculture? Syngenta is a Swiss agrochemical company who is the world’s leading supplier of terms producing chemicals for crops. Syngenta had a recent lawsuit which dealt with giving China GMO Corn which has now entered the world’s food chain. This lawsuit is going to cost Syngenta roughly a billion dollars.
These leading Agriculture companies are showing evident usage of genetically modifying food and having suspicious backgrounds and lawsuits that involve wars and chemicals it should be clear that they should have no place in the production of the world’s food supply. GMO side effect study/ political tiesA study done at the University of Caen, France that was led by researcher Seralini showed that rats that were fed Monsanto resistant maize over the span of two years developed cancer and more tumors juxtaposed to the rats that were in the control group. Previous studies were done on these rats for only a span of thirty days which was the time frame supported by Monsanto. Why is it that most studies done before Seralini’s were only done over a thirty day period? Is it because Monsanto is aware that side effects show after thirty days? It seems like Monsanto would like to keep the side effects a secret; the editor of the Journal Food and Chemical Toxicology was Richard Goodman, a former Monsanto employee.
When Seralini and his group stood by their results and tried published them they received backlash for their findings and had their publishing retracted by editor Richard Goodman (Casassus, Nature Magazine). Political ties seem to be pushing a Pro GMO agenda in the United States whereas the majority of other nations either have a complete ban on GMOs or very heavy regulations on them. During President Bush’s tenure, there was a heavy push to deregulate GMOs in the United States, during Clinton’s presidency Monsanto’s attorney, Michael Taylor, was appointed to be head of the FDA. The FDA has currently set no regulations on GMOs in the United States. During the Obama presidency, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, TPP for short, was being pushed on a global level, amongst 12 countries, which would have led to Pro GMO corporations to have more leverage on farmers, made them harder to regulate, and harder to oversee the safety and labeling of GMOs. Profit and political ties seem to have an impact on whether or not GMOs are being pushed on the people.
It appears quite evident that the that the agenda is trying to be kept under wraps due to the lack of articles and studies opposing GMOs. It is extremely hard to pinpoint who sponsors the big six corporations and where the money to support them is coming from. To appropriately assess the intentions of the companies who are controlling the majority of the worlds food and seed supply, there should be transparency in their partnerships and sponsors. This begs the question as to why thirty-eight countries have banned GMOs, yet the United States does not have any regulations on the cultivation or consumption of genetically modified organisms. According to Engdahl, “.
..all GMO crops have been manipulated and patented for only two things—to be resistant or “tolerant” to the patented highly toxic herbicide glyphosate chemicals that Monsanto and the others force farmers to buy as condition for buying their patented GMO seeds. The second trait is GMO seeds that have been engineered genetically to resist specific insect,” (Engdahl, Global Research).
Thus, the farmers are pressured to use both products created by the Monsanto giant. The world needs food, so there is profit to be made and people to be taken advantage of. Unfortunately, those who are in power or have the monetary means are the people that are now the monopolizers of our nation’s food supply.