Can genetically modified food create mutants?
First genetically modified organisms were created in 1983. Scientists extract the gene causing a good feature in a certain organism and implant it in the cell of another organism. If the experiment is successful, a new plant grows out of this cell. The examples of created plant: tomatoes having cubic shape (it is easier to pack them in boxes and transport), lawn grass emitting light and even blue flax. Not only plants but also animals undergo experiments. For example, huge salmons were created in one of the Western countries.
First genetically modified tomatoes were created in 1994 in the USA. In 1999 there already were genetically modified copies of over 120 species of plants which were being grown in the area of 40 million hectares in 11 countries.
In Russia there are about 20 experimental lots where genetically modified food is being grown. Only five of these lots are officially registered.
ADVANTAGES OF GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOOD
Gene engineers mainly work on speeding up the period of ripening plants, improving their ability to bear cold climate, increase their time of being stored and creating the plants not depending on the quality of soil and pests. For example, potatoes which should not be watered and fertilized and which is avoided by pest bugs. There are inventions of gene engineers in the field of medicine. One of them is the banana eating which vaccinates a person against tropical diseases.
CAN MODIFIED GENES CAUSE DEATH?
Most readers will ask if genetically modified food transforms one’s organism. Unfortunately, currently scholars cannot answer the question if consuming genetically modified food is dangerous or safe. Although there are many concerns. There is an opinion that artificial improving of nutritious quality of potatoes, corn and Soya beans can cause allergic reactions or even poisoning to a person.
The genes stable to antibiotics may mix with the bacteria causing illnesses, and then horror films will become the reality – new infection that cannot be treated or even people-mutants will appear.
Another nightmare can terrify gardeners: a weed which cannot be eliminated may appear. Only atomic bomb explosion will be able to kill such a weed.
In addition, cheaper and more stable genetically modified products will replace naturally produced products. This will make many people unemployed.
GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOOD IN RUSSIA
In Russia genetically modified plants are not allowed to be grown in farms and kitchen gardens. However, some genetically modified plants can be used as food. They are Soya beans, corn, beet, potatoes and rape. Many sorts of imported sausage contain genetically modified Soya beans. In addition, the test conducted by independent analysts in the end of 1999 revealed that about 60-75 percent of imported food contain genetically modified components.
Yet, the resolution obliging to mark genetically modified food components came into force since September 1, 2002. However, State Sanitary and Anti-Epidemic Service reports that 38 percent of such food is still not marked. It is impossible to research such food without special equipment. Politicians discuss the issue if genetically modified plants should be allowed to be grown or not, scholars try to understand if they can be dangerous or not, meanwhile we have been buying food containing genetically modified components for several years. Luckily, nobody died of such food so far.
The products of the following companies contain genetically modified food:
- Nestle – produces chocolate, coffee and coffee beverages, food for children;
- Hershey’s – produces chocolate and non-alcoholic beverages;
- Coca-Cola – Coke, Sprite, Fanta, Keenly tonic;
- Danon – yogurts, cottage cheese, kefir, food for children;
- Cadbury – chocolate, cocoa;
- Mars – chocolate;
- PepsiCo – Pepsi, Mirinda, 7up beverages.
Chief Doctor of Ivanovo region Sanitary and Anti-Epidemic Station said, “Modiefied genes have been discovered in steaks produced in Kineshma and Russian meat dumplings produced in Lezhnevo. WE DON’T ANALYZE FOOD COMING FROM OTHER REGIONS”.
According to the Chief Doctor, the problem of penetrating genetically modified food in Ivanovo region came under scrutiny only several months ago. For this time few kinds of non-standard food have been found, such as the steaks and meet dumplings whose submitted list of components did not contain the genes information. The CEOS of the companies producing these products were notified of this.
As for the foodstuff coming from other regions, we are not capable of checking if it contains genetically modified components and therefore have to trust the information written on the labels”.
Viktor Kuryuchkin, Doctor of Medicine, Professor of Ivanovo State University says,
“One should not be afraid of modified genes too much. Alien genes will be digested by the organism as ordinary food. However, the genes can cause allergic reaction to the person. Meanwhile, even today 15 percent of our population have allergies”.