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A Realistic Look at GMO and the Future


By Damien Darby - 6/13/2013

A DNA helix
  Photo Credit: wavebreakmedia / Shutterstock.com

Actually, it's nearly impossible to get any read handle on GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) because they're too new, and that's part of the point. One article will say one thing and claim this or that, while another study protests the opposite is true. Scientists from both sides of the isle disagree on simple things having to do with Genetically Modified Organisms, so what's the average person to think? Furthermore, GMOs have become a hot ticket and highly controversial political issue as well, complicating things deeper.

On one hand someone could say that genetically tampering with plants has been going on since before the agricultural revolution. Isn't crossing one species with another (otherwise known as Mendel's Classic Selection) technically tampering with genetics? However, one thing is for certain, modern version of technologically enhanced biotech, genetic modifications using contemporary methods, GMO crops, and the like are all relatively new.

A Brief GMO Timeline

  • From roughly 1900-1953 Mendel's Classic Selection pretty much ruled the show, and everything was done naturally out in the open, or in green houses where everyone could see what was going on. And, it was done for the betterment of human kind, not corporate profit making.
  • In 1953 James Watson and Francis Crick go down in history after presenting their discovery of what we now know is the double-helix structure of raw DNA strands. This eventually leads to splicing, and serious genetic tampering experiments.
  • In 1973 the first truly successful experiment is performed that presents the world with a recombinant DNA organism.
  • In 1980 the legal system sided with food manufacturers and ruled that genetically altered forms of life can be legally patented and owned by corporations. Years later this same court would rule that corporations are individuals, and their money is free speech.
  • In 1987 America tests its first GMO crops with tobacco and tomatoes.
  • By 1992 the USDA is allowing GMO products to hit the super market shelves, including fruits and vegetables that seem to never go bad. That same year the USDA ruled that GMOs are safe and sound, and "not inherently dangerous." This has and continues to be hotly debated.
  • By 1994 GMO crops are found in France, and spreading into European countries. Within a decade farmers in European counties begin burning GMO crops and demanding they be eradicated from within their national boundaries.
  • From 2000-2012 there is an explosion in not only GMOs but the food and pharmaceutical companies which own the patents for them. Pesticide resistant crops are released, and GMOs find their way into a majority of the food supply without public consent (many times under the radar).

Right now the best thing people can do is educate themselves with an open mind. In reality, unless something changes drastically, GMOs will be a necessary step for the human species. Who knows, maybe in 50 years when they've been tested and perfected, they'll be safer and more secure.


 








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