Last updated: March 26, 2019
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A Proposal to Investigate Influential Solutions to the Negative Effects of Genetically Modified Organisms on Human Health in America

Introduction

Technology has improved a lot, so genetically modified food is being created for human and animal consumption by using latest molecular biology techniques. Genetically modified food or organism (GMO) is a new crop whose genetic structure has been changed by splicing a gene. In America, GM products have been on the market since 1996. Nowadays, it is almost impossible to see non-GMO products. After the consumption of GMO increased, some negative consequences revealed such as allergic reactions, disabilities and damaged organs. To prevent these hazards, some effective solutions should be sought and the purpose of this paper is to propose some solutions to the negative effects of GMO on human health in America. In the next section, problems will be expressed and solutions to these problems will be mentioned. After that, the criteria for assessing solutions and the methodology for the investigation will be discussed.

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Problem Definition

Scientific researches up to now show that GMO causes unexpected problems and these can be listed as follows:

  • Antibiotic Resistance and Toxicity: GMO will aggravate medical treatments because DNA of GM products does not fully break down in human alimentary system so that viruses which causes illnesses such as flu and infection related diseases can take up genes and this opens up the possibility of the antibiotic resistance.

Scientists are creating GM plants, which can produce their own pesticides. Pesticide is a kind of poison and when we consume them, there can be a toxicity problem that may cause illness and even death[4].

  • Integration with Human Genome: Proteins whose production coded by genes of GM corps are digested in the same way like every other protein we consume. Briefly, enzymes transform proteins into smaller amino acid sequences. Then, amino acid enters the intestines and they are taken up by the body cells. These cells cannot discern the gene if it is natural or GM[3]. Here is the problem; the impact of the gene is unknown because after the specific gene has left the genetic structure of GMO, its function cannot be predicted. For instance, the gene can activate or deactivate other genes. Thus, this can cause mutations. For example, an experiment, which is about the consequences of mice that fed with GM food performed in America and mutation, has occurred such as mice had smaller and partially atrophied livers.
  • Fear of Unknown: GMO has been a controversial debate between scientists and consumers. No one can say it is absolutely healthy or harmful.

In 1980’s, a brand of a food supplement called L-tryptophan killed about 100 Americans and caused illness and disability in another 5.000 people[2].

Some studies are examined on rats, which fed with GM potatoes. There are some negative results observed such as damaged intestines, meager weight gain and damaged immune system[1].

  • Potential Allergenicity: In America, many children have developed life-threatening allergies to GM products. Moreover, soy allergies increased by %50, soon after GM soy was started consuming[2].

Experts mentioned that there is a possibility of creating a new allergen with adding a different gene to a plant.

Some diagnosed cases showed that GM foods could trigger new allergic reactions to non-GM foods.

Proposed Solutions

The proposed solutions that can solve the listed problems above are as follows:

  • Raising the awareness of public: People should be informed about GMO so that they can know what they encounter. Furthermore, the results of scientific experiments should be revealed to raise the awareness of public.
  • Adding courses to curriculum: Information about GMO can be taught at schools by being added to curriculum.
  • Broad Investigation: FDA should make a broad investigation of GMO hazards. The reason behind it is that people from all over the world consume GM products. Experiments, which are only applied on animals, cannot be accepted as efficient. The response of human and animal to GMO can differ.
  • Extra taxes: Extra taxes can be taken from GMO producers. Thus, this implementation can discourage them. To make this solution real, the attitude of the government should be exact.

Criteria

The following criteria will be used in assessing the solutions:

  • Cost: Broad investigation needs significant budget because GMO experiments which will be done are a global issue but other three solutions are not a problem corresponding to cost criterion
  • Feasibility: Solutions including the broad investigation about GMO hazards should be feasible. For instance, before adding GMO to curriculum, it should be thought that whether schools have qualified personnel and materials or not.
  • Acceptability: All solutions should be examined whether they are acceptable or not. For example, some GMO producing firms can protest the extra tax and to protect their profit, they can fire some of their employees.
  • Sustainability: Solutions should be carried out sustainably in order for them to work as planned. Short-term implementations will not be sufficient for an exact result.

Methodology

  • An interview will be arranged with Assoc. Prof. Dr. Serta� �nde who is an academic member of Middle East Technical University(METU).
  • A search will be performed to observe the tendency of farmers to produce GM products.
  • Lastly, some research will be done via Internet to find scientific articles about negative effects of GMO on human health. There are some reliable websites such as “pubmed.com” and “isiknowledge.com” and these sites are used by academic members as well.