Genetically Modified Organisms (by Susanna De Sousa)


A genetically modified organism (GMO) is an organism whose genetic properties (genome) has been maneuvered, therefore genetically remodeled. These organisms might be altered in order to produce biological products or might be used for scientific research. Such organisms comprehend micro-organisms such as bacteria, insects, plants, fish, and also mammals. The first GMO was obtained by two American scientists Stanley Norman Cohen and Herbert Boyer after the discovery of DNA and the introduction of recombinant DNA.
Nowadays GMOs are produced in a great number for many reasons: for agriculture, scientific research, medicine, and environmental management. Today GMOs are regulated by the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, which defines the parameters of international trade of living. In fact, although GMOs might be considered as a benefit for humanity, there are indeed some negative aspect; therefore, the creation of GMOs is an extremely arguable and controversial topic for many people.
GMOs might have great benefits especially in agriculture, in fact modified crops can enlarge per area crop yields and might also limit the use of chemical insecticides. Moreover, GMOs resulted very successful in the matter of avoiding and blocking parasitic diseases. In this case, the genetic alteration of mosquitoes is being conducted to obstruct the malaria parasite to enter into the mosquito’s gut. In the future, the spread of these GM mosquitoes may be quite beneficial for the elimination of the malaria parasite.
GMOs have spread into the medical sphere as a pillar for biomedical research since the very beginning. Genetically Modified animals have been used to test and introduce new therapies for genetic diseases, fostering the production and diffusion of vaccines and pharmaceuticals.


However, despite the beneficial aspects of GMOs, many people oppose the spread of such organisms, especially the spread of Genetically Modified Food. In fact, they are considered to be dangerous to human health, causing side effects such as allergic reaction. Therefore, the consumers’ acceptance and attitude of this kind of food has been pretty much negative, especially in developed countries.

In my opinion, GMOs can be both beneficial or negative according to the use that people make of them. As we have seen, they can be very helpful as well as dangerous. They can be helpful in agriculture, especially in areas where agricultural production is lower than the national requirement, also fostering the reduction of pesticide that are harmful to the environment in plants. Moreover, they can be very helpful for scientific research, especially in the medical sphere. However, at the same time we have seen that such organisms might be harmful for the individual, in particular GM food. Therefore, I believe that they must be used prudently and responsibly.



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