Featured, Opinion

Genetically modified organisms could eradicate nature

Illustration by Samantha Measner

Illustration by Samantha Measner

Gregor Mendel, the father of genetics, was the first to knowingly manipulate nature’s genomic fabrics by integrating a new author into the mix. He gave man’s hand a role in the workings of natural selection, a process not so natural anymore, in the century of booming genetically modified organisms (GMO).

These factory creations have snuck into nearly 70% of our food supply by tainting corn, soy, and rice; a statistic most consumers are oblivious of. It has become evident that the general public does not particularly understand the various repercussions of genetically modifying our produce, with the narrow fail of Oregon’s Measure 92 for the labeling of GMOs in the marketplace this past election.

Furthermore, proponents of the industry seem to believe it can somehow alleviate our dwindling food supply problem, when it can actually do the opposite.

In GMO creation, we select genes that enable produce to grow faster and resist disease more effectively. Initially, this was done only within the same species. However, with advances in biotechnology, we can now interbreed various species into one.

A gene from a fish that lives in cold water, for example, can be transplanted into a tomato so it can survive in cold weather. In essence, we have been doing this for years in dog breeding by selecting gene pools we deem fit. This has only led to purebreds with dampened immune systems and decreased genetic variety in the pool.

Recently, plant ‘breeding’ is a more volatile process, thanks to the airborne means through which plants reproduce. This lack of control could result in introducing unwanted genes to native populations.

Newer studies have indicated that the consumed GMO produce has led to the development of tumors in mice that have sustained a GMO concentrated diet. Another study indicated that the antibiotic resistance bred into these plants has potential of being passed onto consumers, leading to decreased gut function.

Many people have also developed allergies to these organisms, detracting from overall immune strength, and decreasing the validity of the claim that this could solve the hunger crisis; when in reality the problem results from improper food distribution. That being said, the long-term consequences of eating this form of produce have not been completely elucidated as of yet.

Many countries, like those in the European Union, have banned GMOs thanks to the questionable halo surrounding its potential health implications. However, the U.S., saved a few stores such as Whole Foods, has chosen to promote an industry that has been touted to diminish world hunger, but is forever changing the fabric of the genetic diversity nature created.

By altering this balance in the gene pool, we begin to force insects and weeds to evolve as well, creating a ripple effect that could eradicate the rich and beautiful assortment of nature’s creations.

Faizah Shareef is a senior majoring in exercise physiology.

November 18, 2014

Reporters

Faizah Shareef


ONE COMMENT ON THIS POST To “Genetically modified organisms could eradicate nature”

Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • Error

The unopened Christmas gift that University of Miami defensive coordinator Manny Diaz recently spoke ...

Joseph Yearby declared early for the NFL draft. Gus Edwards transferred to Rutgers. Trayone Gray is ...

The University of Miami is in conversations about playing the University of Alabama to kick off the ...

He’s all grown up. Yet University of Miami defensive end Scott Patchan is only 20. Two reconstructiv ...

Michael Rumph, former Cane cornerback and current cornerbacks coach, has mentioned, along with every ...

University of Miami students and researchers are blogging during a month-long expedition in the Gulf ...

María de Lourdes Dieck-Assad, a world-renowned economist and former ambassador, fills a new role for ...

Through the U Dreamers Grant, DACA students find essential support as they pursue their college degr ...

UM students talk about their internships up north in a city that never sleeps. ...

Former University of Miami Dean of Students William W. ‘Bill’ Sandler, Jr. passed away on August 6 a ...

RSS Error: A feed could not be found at http://www.hurricanesports.com/. A feed with an invalid mime type may fall victim to this error, or SimplePie was unable to auto-discover it.. Use force_feed() if you are certain this URL is a real feed.

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.