Top 5 lesser known Myths about Genetically modified food

1. GM is hazardous

In genetic engineering, researchers select genes and introduce them to their target species. For example, genes from bacteria have been introduced into cotton to reduce insect damage dramatically.

The wheat we consume today is a natural hybrid of three different wild species. This has resulted in bringing tens of thousands of genes together in several independent events. It is responsible for wheat being such an important crop.

The GM crops are made in such a way that they focus on providing benefits to human health instead of harming.

2. The GM research is run by multinational companies

GM research has delivered benefits to both traditional breedings and opportunities for GM crops.

However, commercial introductions are extremely costly since there are due to regulatory processes required by different territories before GM crops can be utilized for feed and food purposes.

The public sector, through institutions like CSIRO, does spend a considerable amount of money on GM research. But it is largely up to farmers which GM varieties they grow and market. More importantly, will the consumers accept them or not?

The vast majority of funding for CSIRO’s research relating to gene technology comes from government funding, non-profit organizations, and research centers.

There is the investment from private companies, but investment from all these sources makes up less than 0.2% of CSIRO’s total budget of $1 billion.

3. GM will be the last resort for food security

GM technologies are just one of the tools which may be useful in this case. There are other important contributions to land use and food security like traditional breeding, agronomy, land management, and sustainability research. Breeding combines many traits, some of which are simple and some of which are complex. Usually, GM technology contributes only one or two of these traits, although combinations of up to eight genes are now in corn.

Some of these traits may be simply inherited – such as height, etc.

But usually, they are controlled by many genes, including performance in dry environments, grain yield, tolerance to high temperatures, and once the wheat is turned into flour, improved baking quality.

GM technologies are generally most suitable for single gene traits, not complex multigenic ones. Maybe in the near future, as we get to know the basic biology of these traits and identify the key genes, GM might contribute to factors like grain yield and drought resistance.

4. GM means Frankenfoods

Instead of making radical changes in plants, GM focuses on improving the existing crops to meet the recognized needs like yield and quality.

Usually, GM technics do not involve the introduction of any new genes from another species. Rather than introducing foreign genes, they turn off or silence some genes.

Turning up the volume is used to overexpress some genes, like excessive detoxifying levels of aluminum in the soil or solubilize nutrients in the soil to improve the nutrition of plants.

5. GM is harmful to the environment

Really? In fact, there are numerous benefits of GM for the environment.

GM technologies have reduced the use of pesticides, which leads to less environmental pollution. This leads to less residual pesticides, more biodiversity, and improvement in human safety.

The GM crops have resulted in more efficient use of water and light with less soil degradation and improved yields for farmers.

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