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Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have had their DNA altered in a laboratory setting, while genetically engineered organisms (GEOs) have had their DNA altered through natural means, such as cross-breeding. Both GMOs and GEOs can be found in food products.
What is genetic modification?
Genetically modified refers to organisms whose DNA has been changed using traditional breeding methods, where only natural processes are used to create new varieties of plants or animals, such as cross-breeding.
What is genetic engineering?
The difference between the two
The main difference between the two is that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have had their DNA changed in a laboratory by scientists, while genetically engineered (GE) organisms have had their DNA changed by other means.
GMOs are created when scientists take genes from one organism and insert them into another organism to create a new, desired trait. For example, inserting a gene from a fish into a tomato plant might make the plant more resistant to cold temperatures. GMOs can be made from plants, animals, or bacteria, and can be found in our food supply as well as in products like cosmetics and biofuels.
GE organisms are created using techniques like mutagenesis, where genes are changed by exposure to chemicals or radiation, or transgenesis, where genes from one species are inserted into another species. Unlike GMOs, GE organisms are not currently found in our food supply but they are used in research and to produce medicines and industrial enzymes.
Another distinction between the two terms is that genetic modification can be used to change any heritable trait of an organism, while genetic engineering is typically only used to introduce new traits or characteristics. Additionally, because genetic engineering allows for more precise control over which genes are altered, it is often considered to be a more controversial practice than genetic modification.
Pros and cons of each
There are pros and cons to each type of food. Genetically modified foods have been controversial since they were first introduced in the 1990s. Some people argue that they are unsafe and untested, while others say that they are more efficient and environmentally friendly than traditional methods of food production.
One of the main arguments for GMOs is that they can help us to produce food more efficiently. For example, crops that have been genetically engineered to be resistant to herbicides or pests need fewer chemicals and can be grown with fewer inputs. This can lead to lower costs for farmers and ultimately benefit consumers.
However, there are also concerns about the safety of GMOs. Some people argue that we don’t yet know enough about the long-term effects of consuming them. There is also worry that genes from GMOs could spread to other organisms, including wild plants and animals, which could create new environmental problems.
Can humans be genetically edited?
So far, no GM humans have been created. However, it is technically possible to do this. There are already companies offering “designer babies” where parents can choose the desired traits of their child before they are born.
Some argue that it could be used to create “perfect” human beings free from disease and disability. Others worry that it could lead to a world where people are divided into “haves” and “have-nots” based on their genetic makeup.
At the moment, there are no laws regulating the use of genetic engineering in humans in most countries. This means that anyone is free to experiment with this technology, without any oversight from
What is bad about genetic engineering?
Many people are opposed to genetic engineering for a variety of reasons. Some people believe that it is unnatural and that we should not be meddling with the building blocks of life. Others worry about the potential health risks associated with consuming genetically engineered foods or worry that we may not fully understand the long-term implications of releasing genetically modified organisms into the environment. Additionally, some people believe that genetic engineering could lead to unforeseen environmental consequences or create new monopolies on seeds and other agricultural products.
What are the dangers of gene editing?
There are several risks associated with gene editing, including the potential for off-target effects, unintended mutations, and the creation of new heritable diseases. Additionally, there is a risk that edited genes could be passed on to future generations in an unpredictable way, potentially leading to unforeseen health consequences. Finally, there is concern that gene editing could be used to create “designer babies” with enhanced or desired characteristics, which could lead to further societal divisions.