Have you ever turned on your television set and what you viewed was a child that looked like a skeleton, nothing but skin and bones? Many third world countries experience food shortages due to misfortunes of nature and/or lack of the latest technology. Are you cognizant of the possibility that the food you have been eating may be genetically engineered? An important aspect of genetically engineered foods (also known as Designer Foods or Franken Foods) is the possible future elimination of shortages of food by increase production. “Modern Science has devised revolutionary breeding techniques.
In a issue of Nature, the Roslin Institute and the PPL Therapeutic PLC announced the cloning of Dolly, a lamb cloned from DNA of a adult sheep mammary gland cell. (The news media first announced the story on February 22, 1997). (NCGR-GPI). In order to increase meat yields, sheep, cows, pigs and chickens have been genetically engineered. “Plants have been manipulated equally successfully to produce high yielding cereals, fruits and vegetables as well as decorative plants that flower more brilliantly than any in the natural world.
World 190). Genetic engineering is the unnatural manipulation of genes. A set of genes is removed from the DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) which is a long string of codes arranged in an orderly sequence that contain instructions for creating all the proteins in the body). of one organism and inserted into the DNA of another organism. This technique is known as recombinant DNA, or gene splicing. Mating is where a chromosome from the female is combined with a chromosome from the male. In mating, chromosomes remain unchanged and stable.
In contrast, in genetic engineering genes are extracted out of the DNA of one organism, and inserted into the nucleus of a totally different organism. Regardless of whether it is a plant, an animal, a human being or bacterium, the DNA contains a complete set of information determining the structure and function of living organisms. New types of plants are produced through genetic engineering. By cutting, joining and transferring genes between unrelated species, new plants are grown with singular qualities, thereby altering their genetic blueprint.
Genetically engineered comestibles have made their way to supermarkets. “The Food and Drug Administration approved as safe the first genetically altered food in 1995. A tomato called the Flavr Savr, tomatoes that are supposed to stay firmer and ripen longer on the vine”. (World. 209) Since 1997 many countries have conducted field trials of crops such as soybean, oil seed, tomatoes, peppers, snap peas, squash, cucumbers and other vegetables that can be grown with less water and fewer pesticides.
Potatoes that absorb less fat when fried; pineapples that ripen more uniformly; corn that requires fewer pesticides and herbicides, are all examples of crops that have been altered through genetic engineering. Crops such as potatoes and corn have been engineered to contain Bt, (Bacillus Thurigienes toxin) a pesticide. Companies responsible for the introduction of these genetically engineered foods claim that they are safe to consume. In conclusion, the goals of science are many in the field of biotechnology.
In addition to the growing of plants with desirable traits and elimination of undesirable ones, the prevention and/or resistance of crop infestations of pest and plant diseases, drought, frost and high temperatures is one of it major goals. Other important aims of scientist through the continued experimentation with genetic engineering are finding new vaccines, medicinal cures, and most importantly, the prevention of world food shortages in order to eliminate famine.