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    Tuesday, 19 March 2013 17:14

    Genetically modified foods? Do not panic!

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    genetically-modified-foodsGenetically modified organisms can be defined as organisms in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered intentionally. Technology by which this is achieved is often called recombinant DNA technology, recombinant technology or genetic engineering. This technology allows the transfer of genes from one organism to another, often unrelated - such as insulin and human growth hormone are produced in industrial quantities of yeast - single-celled fungi, which incidentally, is also used in the manufacture of wine, beer, bread, etc. .

    Recombinant technology becomes more pervasive in the plant, and hence in refrigerators in each of us. This creates many, absolutely unjustified panic and even hysteria in the community, professionals need to dispel. On the subject, however, to speak and many pseudo experts that only fueled false rumors and myths and incite panic extra.
     
    Topic is too broad, so here we only briefly describe the most relevant aspects.

    First we point out that genetically modified foods are not mass produced because scientists or even farmers love to experiment with crops, but because they have serious economic benefits. This most often increased resistance to pests, increase yields, reduced need for irrigation and / or fertilization compared to current varieties, or some combination of these qualities. Simply put, the plants are imported genes that give them resistance to pests, herbicides, drought etc.. This increases yields significantly reduces the cost of farmers. In fact, the root cause for the introduction of recombinant technology in plants is notably increasing their resistance to parasites and viral diseases.

    Many "experts" speak, often in the media, totally unprepared and totally unaware of the nature of the issue, as repeating ridiculous slogans such as "No mutants in the soup."
     
    What many do not realize is that every plant food, used by XIX century, is genetically modified. Plum, for example, is a type that does not exist in nature - it is created by crossing the wild plums and sloes. Melons are types created by polyploidization (technique in biotechnology that will clarify this). The wheat we eat every day in the form of daily bread is not created by nature and man the crossing of wild species.

    Many people seem to be afraid of the sound of the word mutant, but it's nothing terrible. It comes from the Latin mutatio, monstrosity does not mean, as many people probably think and change. Mutant mean modified organism, not a freak. In this sense, genetic engineering changes the plants (including those used for food) to make them better - more productive, more stable, etc. Without realizing it, people are engaged in genetic engineering since the dawn of civilization - and cross picking out certain individuals, they received new breeds and varieties in which a certain quality is selectively enhanced - production at chicken or the department of dairy cows crop yield etc. It is to the latter, for example, was established wheat, which is obtained by complex crosses of several plant species. Thus, the person creates something that nature could not create. In essence, the process of creating new plants through cross from the growers do not differ in anything from the analogous process in the laboratory. Nobody refuses melons, watermelons, bread and plum because not exist in nature and man-made "mutants". Why not give the new "genetically modified" foods? In the laboratory, scientists months can achieve results that would have taken decades of growers to be reached. Recombinant technologies also provide a number of completely new features that are unavailable through classical breeding and selection of animals or plants.

    For those who are still concerned about the presence of "mutants" on the shelves of supermarkets will clarify that food produced by biotechnology, pass more rigorous tests created a "traditional" - by crossing plants, selecting at high yield, etc. This is not the most appropriate solution because the two slightly different techniques and is much more likely with "traditional" method to create dangerous foods to be noticed than those to be created by means of biotechnological and reach supermarkets. Also, any kind of new biotech pass rigorous tests for toxicity, allergenicity, nutritional changes due to mutation, unforeseen health effects due to mutation and others.

    Some will point out this time somewhat appropriate that they can be obtained changes that make some people allergic to one food or another. It really is. But not all the new foods are tested for allergenicity? He is allergic to them, just not to consume them as people who are allergic to strawberries, do not eat them. The fact that some people are allergic to strawberries does not mean that strawberries should be banned for everyone. The same goes for GM foods.

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