What are GMOs?
Genetically modified organism (GMO) - an organism whose genotype was
The World Health Organization (WHO) givesa narrower definition, according to which genetically modified organisms are organisms whose genetic material (DNA) has been changed, and such changes would not be possible in nature as a result of reproduction or natural recombination.
Genetic changes are usually madefor scientific or economic purposes. Genetic modification is characterized by a purposeful change in the genotype of an organism, in contrast to the random, characteristic of a natural and artificial mutation process.
The main type of genetic modification at present is the use of transgenes to create transgenic organisms.
Why do we need GMOs?
Food and agriculturalthe United Nations Organization (FAO) uses genetic engineering techniques to create transgenic varieties of plants or other organisms: this is an integral part of agricultural biotechnology.
Direct transfer of genes responsible for beneficialtraits, this is a natural development in the field of breeding animals and plants. This technique expands the possibilities of breeders, they can control the process of creating new varieties and expand its capabilities, in particular, for the transfer of useful traits between non-breeding species.
2012 study (based onreports of seed companies), the use of transgenic soybeans, corn, cotton and canola in 1996-2011 showed that herbicide-resistant crops are cheaper to grow and, in some cases, more productive.
Crops containing insecticide gave morecrops, especially in developing countries where previously used pesticides were ineffective. Insect-resistant crops have also been found to be cheaper to grow in developed countries. According to a meta-analysis carried out in 2014, the yield of GMO crops due to the reduction of losses from pests is 21.6% higher than that of unmodified ones, while the consumption of pesticides is 36.9% lower, the cost of pesticides is reduced by 39.2% , and the income of agricultural producers increases by 68.2%.
Where is it used?
- In research
Currently genetically modifiedorganisms are widely used in basic and applied scientific research. With the help of genetically modified organisms, the patterns of development of certain diseases (Alzheimer's disease, cancer), aging and regeneration processes are studied.
- In medicine and pharmaceutical industry
Currently the pharmaceutical industryproduces a large number of drugs based on recombinant human proteins: such proteins are produced by genetically modified microorganisms, or genetically modified animal cell lines.
Genetic modification in this caseis that a human protein gene is introduced into the cell (for example, the insulin gene, the interferon gene, the beta-follitropin gene). This technology allows proteins to be isolated not from donor blood, but from GM organisms, which reduces the risk of drug infection and increases the purity of the isolated proteins.
- In agriculture
Genetic engineering is used to create new varieties of plants that are resistant to adverse environmental conditions and pests, with the best growth and taste.
Genetically modified forest species with a significant cellulose content in the wood and fast growth are being tested.
Methods for creating GMOs
The main stages of creating GMOs:
- Obtaining an isolated gene.
- Introduction of a gene into a vector for transfer into an organism.
- Transfer of a vector with a gene into a modified organism.
- Transformation of body cells.
- Selecting genetically modified organisms and eliminating those that have not been successfully modified.
Gene synthesis process at presentdesigned very well and even pretty much automated. There are special devices equipped with computers, in the memory of which programs for the synthesis of various nucleotide sequences are laid. This apparatus synthesizes DNA segments up to 100-120 nitrogenous bases (oligonucleotides).
What is known about the safety of GMOs?
Research into the safety of GMOs is importantpart of the research and technological development program in applied molecular biology. There have been no reports of harmful effects in the human population from genetically modified foods. There is a scientific consensus that currently available food derived from GM crops does not pose a greater risk to human health than conventional food, but each GM food must be tested on a case-by-case basis prior to administration.
Since the 1970s, scientists have been studying potentialrisks associated with the use of GMOs. To clarify this issue, the American Academies of Science, Technology and Medicine has organized the largest study to date of nearly 900 scientific articles published over the past 30 years on the impact of GM crops on the human body and the environment. The review of the articles was continued for two years by a committee of 50 scientists, researchers and specialists from agriculture and biotechnology. The document was reviewed by 26 independent experts.
At the end of May 2016, a report was published, andall accompanying documents are on a specially created website. According to the results of the study, in hundreds of scientific papers, no signs of a negative effect of products from GM crops on human health were found. Eating GM foods does not correlate in any way with cancer, obesity, diabetes, gastrointestinal diseases, kidney disease, autism and allergies. No long-term increase in morbidity has been established after the massive distribution of food from GM crops in the United States and Canada in the 90s.
Moreover, certain evidence was found positive the impact of GMOs on human health due to a decrease in the number of insecticidal poisonings and an increase in vitamin levels in the population of developing countries.
Scientific research that was published inDecember 2015 studied consumer behavior in the event that goods in the store were marked with a GMO plate. According to the authors, despite the beliefs of scientists that GMO does not pose any danger, its mandatory labeling aggravates the purchasing power of a particular marked product. Scientists believe that mandatory GMO labeling may not only hinder the development of agricultural biotechnology, but also exacerbate the misconception that GMOs threaten human health.
Results of similar university workVermont were published six months later in July 2015: the study presented at the Association for Agriculture and Applied Economics annual conference was based on a five-year survey of Vermont residents. The results showed that the attitude towards GMOs does not increase in the positive or negative direction because of the desire to label the product with a GMO die. On average, over the five years of the study, 60% of Vermont residents said they oppose the use of GMO technologies in food production, and 89% want products containing GMOs to be labeled. These numbers have increased slightly since 2003. In 2015, the percentage was 63 and 92%, respectively.
In October 2017 it was publishedresearch on the discovery of a new method of producing vaccines: it is a recombinant technology. It opens up the possibility of genetically modifying microorganisms in order to deliver immunogenic material (antigens / epitopes) to the immune system of a person or animal in order to induce an immune response.
In November 2020, employees of the AmericanThe Agronomy Societies estimate that about 7% of children and 2% of adults in the United States suffer from some type of food allergy. They also found that the protein that soybeans produce is responsible for the bulk of soy allergies. In order to address this problem, the research team created a type of GMO soy without the allergenic protein. As a result, its consumption was recognized as safe and people who had allergies were able to eat soybeans and the products that are obtained from them, without consequences for their body.
In early October 2020, it became known that Argentina became the first country in the world to approve GMO wheat.
And what about Russia?
According to the official position of Rospotrebnadzor,consumption of foods containingGM organisms do not carry any risks, which is confirmed by the results of scientific research. There are no proven facts of harm to human or animal health from eating GM organisms or their products to science.
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