By Brian Johnsrud
Before you crunch into that fresh ear of corn from the grocery store, do you know how it was grown? Is there something about it that makes you think, "The genes in this corn seem a just little bit funny to me." Probably not. But genetically engineered foods have been raising similar questions all over the country. With the huge bio-craze, organic foods can cost almost twice the price. But what exactly defines organic foods?
The battle over changing foods and drugs to a way that benefits ourselves has been an ongoing pursuit for years. With the ability to improve crop strength, taste, size, and even growth rate, the only thing that seems to be holding the companies that hold these products back is the future. With unknown effects these products might have on our bodies, until enough time has passed to test these, critics say laws might be passed to ban the production.
Building the best of the best of the best, projects such as splicing animal genes with plant genes and vice-versa are just the beginning. AquaAdvantage, a company that sells seafood, plans to market salmon, trout, and other varieties of fish that have been engineered to grow from egg to market size in over less than half of the regular growth time.
But currently, the main focus has been on one kind of people the farmers. Not so much on improving the quality of crops, but increasing the quantity and durability. Many new crosses have the correct combination of genes to withstand certain pesticides and herbicides. Allowing these plants to thrive, and un-immune weeds and other brush to be exterminated.
But are these advantages equally scaled with dangers? Building "super-human" plants has scared many people that they may over dominate crops. An advantageous offspring of genetics is a kind of corn that has shown flying colors in production and taste, but releases an unanticipated pesticide that has poisoned the soil and exterminated monarch butterfly larvae and also lacewing flies. Two bugs who, ironically, prey on a good deal of crop bugs.
Another disadvantage may be the farmers reliance on the companies who engineered these foods. Many of these seeds can only thrive on brand name pesticides. Also, they are like a one-way airfare. Once sown, these seeds are done. Only useful for one planting, the re-use of seeds is impossible. Therefore, forcing the farmer to rely on the these businesses for a new batch of seeds, and the pesticides to keep them going.
For this reason, many smaller countries spanning the globe have banned genetic engineering. Especially in places of famine and hunger, losing natural biodiversity of plants is too great of a risk to take on.
With the rash of genetical engineering sweeping the airwaves, society has begun to develop a phobia of these modified meals. An on going survey conducted by www.thrive-online.com asks the question, "Would you choose to eat genetically engineered food?"
Out of the 3677 people who have participated, 22.19 percent said yes, and a whopping 77.81 percent said no way.