Genetically Modified Foods and their Impact on Human Health


Genetic modification of food is a unique set of gene technology in which the genetic material of organisms (most especially plants) – the DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid) has been altered in a way that does not occur by mating or by natural recombination. Similarly, such altered foods – golden rice, fruits and vegetables, corn, etc., are said to be "Genetically Engineered," "Genetically Modified (GM)," or "Transgenic."


Furthermore, the transgenic crops grown on small scales or commercially have the benefits of:

  • Being immune to herbicides and insecticides and can survive weather extremes.

  • Maintaining high resistance to viruses and infections.

  • Increased vitamins and iron to deter chronic malnutrition

  • boosted yields and maturing years earlier compared to non-genetically modified crops.

Now the question: How do Genetically Modified Foods Impact Human Health?

Controversies and public doubt about Genetically Modified Foods commonly focus on their environmental ethics, safety, poverty reduction, food security, and environmental conservation, but what about their impact on human health?


Of course, like any technology, gene manipulation of foods to be processed has its pros and cons on human health, and below are a few that consumers should know.


Positive effects of GM foods on Human Health

  • Improved nutritional enrichment: With ease, Genetic engineering can now produce more nutritionally enriched diets that contain enough minerals and vitamins to inhibit diseases and maintain a healthy life balance. For example, golden rice contains more Vitamin A, which helps against some skin and eye infections.

  • Generation of antioxidants: Anthocyanin, an antioxidant that fights cancer and offers other health aids, is produced with the combined gene of tomatoes and blueberries - a goal to increase the proportion of anthocyanin that people consume in their diet to help their health. Its cost is often lesser than the naturally grown blueberries or tomatoes, making it feasible for people to take advantage during daily consumption.

  • Production of pharmaceuticals: Transgenic food extracts are used in the manufacturing of medications, vaccines, antivenoms, bacteria-developed toxins, immunoglobulins, monoclonal antibodies, allergens, and hormones such as insulin and thyroxine. With these, genetically modified food extracts tend to help control the occurrence of certain diseases.

Adverse effects of GM foods on Human Health

  • Abnormal allergic effects: Genetically Modified Foods stimulate allergic effects in the human body. Such allergic effects or reactions can tamper with and endanger the body's immune system, as the proteins produced by newly introduced genes from GM foods have the potential to produce different allergies in the body system.

  • Increased antibiotic resistance: Transgenic foods extracts are used in producing antibiotics. However, it can also lead to resistance to the antibiotics it produces. This scourge is traceable to the inappropriate combination of genes in GM foods. In this case, many antibiotics are rendered ineffective for use.

  • Gene transfer: Another potential concern ensuing from Transgenic foods is the transfer of genetic material – the DNA- from genetically manipulated crops to the human body cells. This transfer could result in multiple genetic irregularities due to human cells' absorption of DNA fragments.

Conclusion

Genetically Modified Foods (crops) can solve many of the world's malnutrition and hunger crises. Numerous advantages, like high yield, cold and drought tolerance, and nutritional improvement, have many negative impacts on living beings. The improvement of plants and livestock for food production through gene manipulation has its peaks and waterfalls.