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GMOs: Yay or Nay?

TheBioChemistSep 18, 2016, 6:32:08 PM
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A lot of controversy has surrounded GMOs (genetically modified organisms).  But what are they, and are they actually dangerous to one’s health?

Well you’re in luck!  A study was conducted on the matter called “The Trillion-Meal Study” conducted over the last 29 years.

Here’s a link to an overview of the study:    http://preview.tinyurl.com/zssgcv6

Here’s the actual article by Snell et. al.:   http://preview.tinyurl.com/jy9wzhb

The question I really find myself asking however is, why the GMO scare in the first place? 

My best guess is the complete misunderstanding of what these genetically modified organisms are in the first place.  Simply put, genetic modifications happen EVERY SINGLE DAY.  Yup!  I’ll repeat that; EVERY SINGLE DAY. Not because you live in California, where almost everything is a carcinogen, or a mutagen (something that causes mutations in your DNA).  They happen naturally as well, at EVERY SINGLE CELLULAR DIVISION CYCLE.

Examples of genetic “modifications”:

For further reading:  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK21578/

As you can see, you’re still alive!  Holy crap!

But, I can hear you saying: “But GMOs are intentionally modified organisms… In a lab… it’s not natural; it’s not organic man…”

And to you my dirty hippie friend, I say “you are correct”.  So let’s do a small case study of an “unnaturally modified organism in a lab and shit, man…”: The production of Insulin.

 

Insulin: What is it and why should I care?

Insulin is a hormone normally produced by the pancreas.  It is essential for glucose metabolism (how your body uses the sugar that you eat).

Read more here: http://preview.tinyurl.com/zqgegnq

Every now and again though, some people can no longer produce insulin.  This is called diabetes.  People who have this disease may require insulin injections.  The question now becomes “how can we make enough insulin, at a low enough cost, to provide medical treatment to those affected by this disease?”

The answer?  Play around with E. coli DNA to make them secrete (poop really) insulin.  This is called recombinant DNA technology.

See: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2690608

 See the details here: http://preview.tinyurl.com/pn69vjo

 

I haven’t heard anyone freak out about recombinant DNA insulin production as of today.  Yet these genetically modified E. coli are GMOs.  Hmmm….

This brings me to my last point: the greatest genetically modified organism of them all

HUMANS

This may not be intentional of course, but here’s something that most people are unaware of: our DNA is made up of approximately 8% viral DNA (mostly from retroviruses).  You read that correctly! 8% of our DNA comes from viruses!

http://preview.tinyurl.com/yguohs6

http://preview.tinyurl.com/jdug4de

http://preview.tinyurl.com/zng6jpx

These pieces of DNA are commonly referred to as “endogenous viral elements”.

Read the full article here: http://preview.tinyurl.com/z5uka3l

 

At this point, if you haven’t realized that genetic modification is the driving force behind evolution, I can’t help you…

To answer the question : " GMOs yay or nay?"

 

Have other questions about this topic?  Feel free to ask!