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Summary

A GMO, or genetically modified organism, is a plant, animal, microorganism or other


organism whose genetic makeup has been modified using recombinant DNA methods (also called
gene splicing), gene modification or transgenic technology. Genetically modified organisms

(GMOs) have been altered by changing their genetic make-up. The most familiar ones are
used as food and in medicine. There are advantages and disadvantages to their use. Foods can be
pest-proofed, food production can be increased, and the food can be nutritionally improved. The
disadvantages are that GMOs can be harmful (Goldbas, A., 2014). Caution must be used when
dealing with GMOs. More research has to be conducted to determine benefits and risks. While
regulations are being enacted, a wide grass-roots movement is currently promoting non-GMO
foods and agriculture because many people believe they must protect themselves and the
agricultural environment.

They have been successfully used for years in a variety of fields such as in medical and
biological research, drug production, and medical treatments (Phillips, T., 2008). They are also
used in the development of biodegradable plastics and the development of bacteria for bioremedial
treatments of oil spills (Macaulay, B.M., 2014). There have controversies about GMOs as to how
safe they can possibly since they also use it with food. For people questioning how GMOs
emerged, animals have been genetically modified since they were first domesticated around 12,000
BCE and altered plants were available around 10,000 BCE (Root, C., 2007). More recently, in
1973, the process of genetic engineering, which is the process of directly transferring DNA from
one organism to another, was developed (Collins, F. S. et al, 2003).

Among the advantages of GMOs are in the field of medicine. It wherein plants, animals,
and bacteria have been used since the 1980s, for instance in the production of pharmaceutical drugs
(biopharmaceuticals) such as the hepatitis B vaccine as well as in gene therapy (Phillips, T., 2008).
And second, it becomes an advantage since it is used on plants and other foods. To many,
especially those charged with preventing starvation and malnutrition in developing countries,
GMOs are considered major biotechnical advancements in agriculture. Breakthroughs include
food plants which have been altered to be pest-resistant and have greater nutritional values
(Goldstein, 2014). A case in point is South African white corn that can now be enriched to have
greater protein content (Sayre et al., 2011). Additionally, plants have been modified to be resistant
to herbicides and virus damage. Plants are also being developed for increased yields which can
grow in heretofore useless geographical areas plagued with droughts (Phillips, 2008).

However there are disadvantages too wherein there are concerns about ethical and philosophical
issues. The uncontrolled combinations of genes and the release of hazardous GMO viruses are
real, and frightening risks as well. Second, both scientists and consumers world-wide do not
completely understand GMO food crops, neither their benefits nor their risks (Hinneh, 2012). In a
research about the history and vagaries of modern food consumption noted that more than 17,000
processed food products are introduced in the U.S. each year. They contain high fructose corn
syrup, unhealthy fats, and undisclosed chemicals (Pollan, 2007).