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GM Foods

             Genetically modified foods are receiving quite a bit of attention in the media these days. They are turning into a prevalent part of the world's agriculture and the question often arises whether or not the foods are a health concern. Presently no clear evidence indicates genetically modified foods pose any significant threat to human health, although precautions should be taken and studies should follow the new technology closely.
             Genetically modified foods or GM foods are "foods produced using plant or animal ingredients that have been modified using gene technology." (Ross). For example, rice can be enriched with vitamins by inserting genes from other plants containing the desired vitamins. Plants can also be modified to withstand certain environmental factors they normally wouldn't by deriving those genes from plants that can. This new technology offers a lot to the world of agriculture. Despite all the good the new technology has to offer there is a lot of controversy over whether genetically modified foods are safe. There are a few different concerns around health issues in light of this new technology. .
             Toxins, antibiotic resistance and allergies are currently the major concerns about genetically modified foods. Many of the arguments I have read lead me to believe there is presently no real threat that gm foods have on human health.
             The first concern of antibiotic resistance is of special interest to me. Antibiotic resistant bacteria kill more people every year than road accidents. (Halle). I can see the concern here. The marker genes used in genetic engineering confer resistance to antibiotics commonly used in human and veterinary medicine. Some scientists believe that eating gm foods containing these marker genes could encourage gut bacteria to develop antibiotic resistance. According to the FDA the chances of this happening are very low. First, studies show that strands of antibiotic resistant genes, once in the digestive tract, are degraded by digestive enzymes.

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