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Genetically Modified (GM) Food: Failure of the Innovation

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Genetically modified (GM) foods are foods produced from animals or plants whose genetic material (DNA) has been modified. For example, by the insertion of a gene from another organism, in a fashion that does not occur normally. Combining genes from different organisms is known as ‘recombinant DNA technology’, while the resulting organism is claimed to be ‘genetically modified’, or ‘genetically engineered’, or ‘transgenic’. The technology is sometimes referred to as ‘modern biotechnology’ or ‘gene technology’ or ‘genetic engineering’ often as well. Genetically Modified Foods (GMF) and Genetically Modified Crops (GMC) are very closely related as they are genetically modified during the growth phase and before they can be harvested. GMF is focusing the result on the food produced while GMC is basically focusing the modification on the plants. The genesis of DNA alteration technologies can be traced back to 1944, when researchers found that it was possible to transfer genetic material between different animals. Several distinctive texts opened the way for the new study of molecular biology. The double helix structure of DNA was discovered by Watson and Crick in 1954, and the ‘central dogma’, DNA transcribed to messenger RNA, converted to protein, was created. The genetic code was decrypted by Nobel Laureate Marshall Nirenberg and others by 1963. Genetic modification of food is not new. 85% of maize, 91 percent of soybeans and 88 percent of cotton are reportedly genetically modified in the United States. Plus, there are some genetically modified (GM) food ingredients in 75 percent of packaged foods on store shelves. Consumers are becoming concerned about the sustainability of genetically modified crops in the United States. As it is yet to be proved secure, this knowledge comes as no surprise. This report discusses about the features of genetically modified (GM) food, its functions, the causes of its disaster, its impacts of the disaster on the society and recommendations to prevent future disasters.

Descriptions of the Failure of the Innovation

Features of the Innovation

Every GM food have different features, but in general, the common traits that they shared are bigger size compared to the original one, have higher nutrient content, have a resistance to viral infections and have higher durability (last longer before expiration) and also have an interesting appearance.

Functions of the Innovation

GM is a technology which involves inserting DNA into an organism’s genome. For vegetables and fruits, fresh DNA is transferred into plant cells to create a GM plant. Typically, in tissue culture, the cells are then cultivated where they grow into plants. The new DNA will be inherited by the seeds that these plants produce. Its genetic structure and its relationship with the environment decide the characteristics of all living species. An organism’s genetic makeup is its genome, which is composed of DNA in both plants and animals. The genome includes chromosomes, regions of DNA that typically bear protein-making instructions. These proteins are what give the plant its characteristics. For example, genes that hold the instructions for creating proteins involved in processing the pigments that color the petals decide the color of flowers.

Genetic alteration of plants means adding to the genome of the plant a particular strip of DNA, giving it new or different characteristics. This may mean modifying or making it immune to a new disease in the manner the plant grows. The new DNA becomes part of the genome of the GM plant that will hold the seeds that these plants produce.

The first step involves the transfer of DNA into a plant cell to make a GM plant. One of the methods used to transfer DNA is to cover the surface with the relevant DNA fragment of tiny metal particles, and bombard the particles into the plant cells. Using a bacterium or virus is another strategy. There are several viruses and bacteria that as a natural part of their life cycle, transfer their DNA into a host cell. The bacterium most widely used is called Agrobacterium tumefaciens for GM plants. The gene of interest is inserted into the bacterium and the new DNA is then transferred to the genome of the plant cells by the bacterial cells. To produce a new plant, the plant cells that have successfully taken up the DNA are then grown. This is possible because there is an impressive potential for individual plant cells to generate whole plants. On rare occasions, without intentional human interference, the process of DNA transfer will happen. The sweet potato, for example includes DNA sequences that were moved from Agrobacterium bacteria into the genome of the sweet potato thousands of years ago. There are other methods of modifying crop genomes, some of which have been known for a long time, such as selective breeding, while others are recent, such as genome editing. On the other hand, for animals, the commonly used method is by simply injecting the chemicals substances that will work in the animal’s cells and modify its genetics.

Causes of the Disaster

Toxicity, allergenicity and genetic hazards are three important health threats theoretically associated with GM foods. This are the outcome of three alternative causes, the injected gene and its expressed proteins, the secondary or pleiotropic effects of gene expression products, and the likely disturbance in the modified organism of the natural genes.

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‘StarLink’ maize offers an example of a nutritional threat that is specifically caused by the injected gene expression. To endow the plant with resistance to certain insects, the transformed plant was engineered with genetic material from Bacillus thuringinensis. An enzyme called Cry9c, is encoded by the inserted gene with pesticidal properties but with an unexpected high allergenicity. Several cases of allergic reactions have been reported in consumers after eating this maize.

Changing the degree of speech of the manipulated organism’s natural components may even intensify allergies. The processing of soybeans enriched with the amino acid methionine is one example. This amino acid’s improved synthesis is the result of a gene isolated from Brazilian nuts. As a result, certain customers with allergic susceptibility to these nuts had allergic reactions to transgenic soybeans.

Secondary and pleiotropic effects can be identified even less readily than the direct effects of the gene or its components. The mutated gene which encode an enzyme involved in the altered organisms’ otherwise normal metabolic pathways. At any ‘metabolic distance’ from real metabolic disruption, such modifications may alter the levels of other metabolites, even toxic ones. Connecting the causative dots suggests an intimate knowledge of the mechanisms of biochemistry and regulation, which could be beyond current understanding.

Another possible danger scenario is that the implanted gene may conflict with the integrity of the plant’s existing genomic details, resulting in the inactivation or other modulation of endogenous genes. Again, such a disturbance may be intended to activate (or disable) or detoxify metabolic processes involving products or toxins. In any case, events are well away from the established and expected effect of the inserted gene, thus confusing our capacity to create a causal connection between the inserted gene and the alleged effect.

Impacts of the Disaster on the Society

  1. Lose faith and build hesitation among the society. The disaster occurred from modified genetic in food has made people to lose their interests and grow concerns on this biotechnology matter. As the current recombinant technology cannot ensure that genetically modified organisms will remain under control, activists oppose genetic engineering. In addition, beyond protected laboratory settings, the use of this equipment poses several undesirable threats to both agricultural and wild habitats. In 1996, a firm called Pioneer Hi-Bred spliced nut genes from Brazil into soybeans. However, some people became so allergic to this nut, they went through anaphylactic shock that can cause death, similar to a serious bee sting reaction.
  2. Socio-economic problem. Much of the poor in the world rely primarily on farming for their livelihood. The implementation of this genetically engineered technique may have multiple effects that could intensify socioeconomic issues on wealthy and poorer growers. Legal aspects can be influenced as well. The production efficiency of farmers (the ability of farmers to produce more with less or equal inputs and resources) as well as the frequency of incidents of pesticide poisoning and health effects would also be affected. Many opponents of current genetic engineering realize that the increasing use of GM in crops has caused a power shift in agriculture towards Biotechnology companies, which are gaining more control over the production chain of crops and food, and over the farmers that use their products, as well.
  3. Affecting future generations with unknown diseases. David Williams, a cellular biologist who specializes in vision, has complained. “A lot of naive science has been involved in pushing this technology”, he says. “Thirty years ago, we didn’t know that when you throw any gene into a different genome, the genome reacts to it. But now anyone in this field knows the genome is not a static environment. Inserted genes can be transformed by several different means, and it can happen generations later”. He insists that the consequences may very well be that highly poisonous and potentially toxic plants slip into research. The consumed GM foods maybe can give a long-term reaction that only can be detected within future generations after undergone mutations. Same goes to the current disease that occurred because of this genetic modification, this problem maybe can lead to something worse.

Recommendations to Prevent Future Disasters

In my opinion, using sustainable and organic farming techniques will help us to fix the harm caused by industrial farming, reduce the unnecessary use of fertilizers, herbicides and other chemicals created by human beings, and make GM food redundant. The implementation of organic farming can help to lower the concerns about GM food among people. The reason is because this method is not involving any modification to the foods produced.

Other than that, special organization or association has to be assigned in order to observe the Genetically Modified Foods (GMF) and undergo tests on them before they can be available on the market for people to buy. Not only the tests in laboratory, but also observe if any effects occur to a community in certain places because there are many factors that can lead to vary and different problems such as the surrounding temperature, lifestyle and regular daily food consumption. In order to make this plan goes smoothly, every country should form their own associations to observe any problems among the local society and liaising with the other countries’ organization. For example, World Health Organization (WHO) can be the head of this plan while the other country will be working under its observation and advices.


Holistically, this report discusses about the features of genetically modified (GM) food, its functions, the causes of its disaster, its impacts of the disaster on the society and recommendations to prevent future disasters. The introduction of genetically modified (GM) food and crops has been a disaster, according to the UK’s Greenpeace website. A huge leap forward was supposed to be the science of taking genes from one species and inserting them into another, but instead they pose a serious threat to biodiversity and our own health. Many scientists believe that there is more than enough food in the world and that issues in food delivery and politics, not development, are causing the hunger crisis, so that people should not be given food that could bring a certain degree of risk. We cannot deny the fact that this innovation, which is genetically modified foods (GMF) had brought disease to humankind, but we also cannot deny the fact that it is still can be improved, and that’s the sole purpose of innovation, to improve our lives by creating and producing something more useful and beneficial to us humans while lower the risks and drawbacks. It seems unlikely that the scientific momentum against genetically modified crops will be halted dead in its tracks, learning from historical experience. Or ought to be. Out of fear of the unknown and unintended drawbacks, the immediate rewards are too real to disregard or put aside.

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Genetically Modified (GM) Food: Failure of the Innovation. (2022, December 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 29, 2023, from
“Genetically Modified (GM) Food: Failure of the Innovation.” Edubirdie, 15 Dec. 2022,
Genetically Modified (GM) Food: Failure of the Innovation. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 29 May 2023].
Genetically Modified (GM) Food: Failure of the Innovation [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Dec 15 [cited 2023 May 29]. Available from:
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