Genetics

GMOs: Observing beyond the bandwagon

Written by Yusuf Azhar

Ban Them! Burn all the GMOs! Say No to GMOs! Down with Monsanto! Organic only!

From being linked to health hazards, such as allergies and Cancer-related disease risks, to their impact on the natural order of our ecosystem, GMOs are to be blamed right about in every other developed country. One might stop and think what were the bio-technicians smoking when they put all their life’s hard work for inventing genetically modified organisms?

Hang on a minute! Let’s not rush onto the final ruling that GMOs are nothing but bad for us, without examining what benefits they actually offer. No, the scientists were not out of their minds when they came up with the discovery of GMOs back in the 1970s. In actuality, after the introduction of recombinant DNA technology, several tests were carried out by these same bio technicians that used genetic engineering as a means to produce crops used for agricultural farming, but with far better traits. These included shorter growth period of crops, crops that were resistant to pests, crops with higher yields, and crops that could survive for longer periods in unfavourable conditions, such as harsh climate.

Banning GMOs would surely hinder the cause of fighting world hunger; which would lead to over 3.1 million dead children worldwide and almost 5 million Africans deaths each year, and who will be to blame? Yes, the same majority who opted against GMO usage!

So GMOs only benefit us by providing the needy with food, what about its environmental impacts?” Something what a GMOs critique would be saying right about now. It would leave them astounded when they find out that GMOs have a rather positive environmental impact, something that has been thoroughly researched and experimented upon, contrary to their blatant, pseudoscientific claims. For example, when a certain gene from the grey mangrove tree, Avicennia marina, was genetically implanted into tobacco plants, the tobacco plants showed higher resistance to soil salinity and other ionic stresses.

Another example is of the reduction in release of greenhouse gasses by use of GM crops, i.e. the removal of 27 billion kg of carbon dioxide from the earth’s atmosphere. (Equal to removing 11.9 million cars from the road for one year!).

Conclusion

World population levels are on the rise. Similarly, poorer and under-developed countries are suffering the worst that food hunger has to offer, something the more privileged countries do not get to experience. Every 15 seconds a child dies of hunger, according to a campaign by charities. Unless and until a more substantial alternate to fighting global food hunger, or a way to reduce man’s impact on the environment cannot be found, GMOs are our best way forward in tackling these both dilemmas. Although there is much room for improvement, yet perfection we cannot achieve, the advancement shown in GMOs by the years, has to be put into consideration the next time anyone opts against their usage.

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About the author

Yusuf Azhar

Hello! My Name is Yusuf Azhar. I am currently enrolled as a student of BS Biosciences from COMSATS Islamabad. My passion for biotechnology and its related fields is what drives me into indulging in various topics and being rather of a skeptic, I assess all sides of an argument before presenting a final verdict.