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GM Food - Friend or Foe?

             Humans have been modifying their food for thousands of years.
             this had to be done by breeding desirable characteristics into crops. This method requires.
             plenty of effort and is rather imprecise. Genetic modification speeds up the process by .
             identifying the genes that produce these selected traits and introducing them into the .
             desired crop. .
             The first wave of GM crops, grown in the 1990s, has largely given benefits to farmers.
             - crops that are resistant to insect attack or is tolerant to certain herbicides. An example.
             of this is BT corn which contains a gene (Bacillus thuringiensis) that makes it produce a.
             natural insecticide in its pollen. Genetically engineering tolerance to weed killers in crops .
             allows farmers to spray their fields with herbicides without damaging their crop. This had .
             resulted in significantly less insecticide and herbicide being used thus helping farmers to .
             reduce costs.
             Besides, GM crops are able to withstand harsh environments. In the first field trial of a .
             GM organism in 1986, Frostban which contains genetically modified bacteria that stops .
             the growth of other bacteria that catalyze the formation of ice was sprayed over a .
             strawberry crop to protect them from frost damage. Hence, the strawberry crop can .
             survive during winter. In Canada, scientists have created a tomato that grows in water .
             nearly half as salty as the ocean. Basically, the sodium ions in salt are toxic to plants .
             because they interfere with their metabolism. The modified tomato contains a gene that .
             makes it gather ions inside vacuoles where they can't harm the plant. This ensures that it .
             will look, feel and taste the same as a tomato grown in normal conditions.
             The next advance will be to provide direct benefits to consumers. For example, gene .
             technology will be able to improve the nutritional value of foods. A vitamin A-enriched .
             rice called Golden Rice has already been developed. It contains a daffodil gene that .

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