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An Overview of the Genetically Modified Food DebateGenetically Engineered Foods, 2009 From Opposing Viewpoints in Context Valeria Jefferson is a corresponding author for the Journal of Environmental Health and is the president of the National Capital Area Environmental Health Association located in Clinton, Maryland.When scientists change the genetic makeup of a plant or animal in order to produce desirable traits in the organism, they are engaging in what is called genetic modification. The resulting plants, animals, or microorganisms are called genetically modified organisms (GMOs); when GMOs are used for food, they're known as genetically modified foods (GMFs). Scientists, environmentalists, political analysts, and consumers debate whether genetic modification ought to be allowed. Proponents argue that GMFs can help solve the problems of hunger and environmental pollution. Opponents counter that GMOs pose a serious health risk to humans andcause irreversible genetic pollution. Both sides are trying to answer whether the benefits of GMFs outweigh the possible negative consequences.With an ever-increasing global population, hunger in the developing world, and the health risks of pesticides, some experts view genetically modified food as a panacea. Others view it as one ofthe most serious threats to human civilization. These diametrically opposing views point to an ethical dilemma, that will certainly be difficult to resolve: whether the benefits of developing andsupplying the world with genetically modified foods outweigh future consequences that these products may have for the human species, animal life, and the ecosystem.Plant and animal modification is not a new concept. Before genetic engineering, gene modification was accomplished through breeding. The traditional breeding method ultimately produces the same desired effect as genetic engineering, but it occurs over a much longer time span and is self-limiting. Selected individual genes are transferred from one organism to another between plants and between animals, but not between plants and animals. Through genetic engineering, genes can be transferred between any organisms: A hypothetical example might be agene from a fish that lives in cold seas being inserted into a strawberry so that the strawberry could survive frost.Genetic engineering (GE) belongs to the field of biotechnology, which is the science governing genetic modification, genetic engineering, genetic manipulation, other gene technologies, and recombinant-DNA technology. Recently, use of biotechnology has expanded from the pharmaceutical and medical industries into the agricultural industry.Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) Explained
The collective term "genetically modified organisms," or GMOs, is used frequently in regulatory documents and in the scientific literature to describe "plants, animals and microorganisms which have had DNA introduced into them by means other than by combination of an egg and a sperm

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