151 MC: Genetic Engineering in Agriculture Part 1 – Assignment 1 + 2

So like I said in my previous post, I started off my research by looking at Agriculture on Wikipedia to gain a basic understanding on the topic due to it being so broad.  And the area that stood out to me the most was the Crop alteration section.
When going to work with my dad in Covent Garden, I’m used to being around fresh fruit and veg, so the idea of genetically altered or engineered food actually seemed quite interesting to me.

Again, I had no knowledge on this topic at all, so the best place for me was to Wikipedia to read up on the topic. The topic in itself is very varied, with the idea of engineering being applied in places such as Genes, Medicine etc. I had a read up on these areas, and they are interesting areas that if the project wasn’t limited to the certain topics I would be interested in looking at these.

So when reading up on the agriculture area, it all just seemed to be about the process on what would be going on and the areas that would be more focused on. It then moved onto the benefits of this process and what it can bring to others.  Such things as nutrition value, a longer living span and greater resistant to viruses were some, and on reading it seems like a very good thing to use. For farmers who may struggle with problems, GMO could be a changing point for the better.

However the part that seemed to be of the most interest to me was the ethical side of this process, in how there can be dangers to the body or environment with these things. This is because scientists believe in changing the organisms humans eating them could be susceptible to diseases or allergies.  And apparently there have been multiple warnings about the harm that could be caused. Jeffrey Smith from The Huffington Post talked about how scientists warned about the potential harm. Yet in these posts, there isn’t much to back up these statements (such as facts, figures or testimonies.) So I started to question the credibility of these claims. So I looked around, and found the website http://www.biointegrity.org/list.htm (which after re-reading Smith did hyper link this site in the words “strong warnings”)

So this got me thinking on what except controversies there are with this process. So I decided to do some searching into the controversies and thoughts there are on this. So the first stop again was Wikipedia, and even though Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology created a review of U.S. survey results from 2001-2006, I was surprised that a very limited amount of people know about GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms). For me, I have seen on the news and TV about controversies, however being in the UK different news is reported. So perhaps the views in America are different to how I might see them.

So I then decided to think about do the public actually know the difference between organic food and GMO food? So on Yahoo Voices, there is an article that talks about this very thing.  And from the start it talks about how GMO food is not as easily accepted due to how the food has been modified with on a regular basis. However I started to suspect that the article has quite a bit of bias in it as there was more info regarding organic food (whilst being praised in quite a good light) yes the GMO food wasn’t regarded as well. Yet though the author did indeed use facts and referenced to back up some of her points though.
So to counter this slight bias then, I looked on NY Times website for an article that criticised Organic food.  In comparison to the other article, this report used figures to back up their point, but also used real life examples in order to show there is evidence for what they are saying. In addition, they don’t limit the views to just themselves, but they interviewed others to get their viewpoints as well.

However, from these two articles, I managed to draw up that more people preferred organic food to GMO food even when it is much more expensive. And I could understand to some extent this reasoning; if people feel healthier after eating organic food then why should they change?
But I ask the question should GMO food be stopped just for this? In some countries around the world, there isn’t the opportunity to grow organic food at all, so the potentials to grow GMO food are a huge benefit. So it strikes me weird that people would want to get rid of something that could help others.
So I started to think about an area that would be a niche area for me to focus on, and I wondered can people tell the difference between organic and GMO food at all? And if you were to place the same food (but both different) would someone be able to tell the difference between the two?

References:

http://www.bestfoodfacts.org/food-for-thought/video-gm-nutritional-diff

http://www.biointegrity.org/list.htm

http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetically_modified_food_controversies#Reviews_and_polls

http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_engineering

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeffrey-smith/will-obamas-food-safety-t_b_178127.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/04/dining/04cert.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/22/weekinreview/22bittman.html

http://www.organicconnectmag.com/whats-the-difference-between-ge-and-gmo/#.Usv8ErzlepY

http://www.parents.com/blogs/dadabase/2013/09/08/health/the-difference-between-organic-and-non-gmo-foods/

http://www.thedelicioustruth.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/difference-between-terms-ge-and-gmo.html

http://www.voices.yahoo.com/organic-food-vs-genetically-modified-food-5402081.html

http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agriculture#Crop_alteration_and_biotechnology

http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_safety

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