Genetically Modified Organisms

Essay by G4BiksHigh School, 10th gradeA+, May 2006

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GMO stands for genetically modified organisms. These organism's, genetic material have been altered using techniques usually known as recombinant DNA technology. Recombinant DNA technology is the ability to combine DNA molecules from different sources. Therefore the genes of the organism is altered and modified. The idea of GMO was first created in 1973 by Stanley H. Cohen and Herbert Boyer. This idea was taken to another level by Rudolf Jaenisch in 1974; he successfully managed to insert leukemia genes into early mice embryos using a retrovirus vector.

Genetic modification in itself is a very controversial issue. Some believe that the science itself is intolerable meddling with "natural" order. By mid-1974 soon after the first GMO was created, scientists called for a conference to discuss the issue. The conference concluded that recombinant DNA research should proceed but only with strict guidelines. These guidelines were subsequently promulgated by the National Institutes of Health in the U.S

and other comparable bodies in other countries. While some believe that GMOs should be banned, others believe they should simply label genetically modified foods. Mendocino County in 2004 was the first to act; they were the first county in the U.S. to ban the production of GMOs. This measure was passed with a 57% majority. The practice of genetic modification as a scientific technique is not restricted in the United States but there is a lot of controversy with other countries. Genetically modified crops such as soybeans are subject to intense study before being brought to marker and are common in the United States, but some countries in Europe have taken the opposite position. They believe that genetic modification had not been proven safe, and will therefore not accept genetically modified food from the U.S. or any other country. This issue was brought before the...