Genetically Modified Organisms: Benefit or Evil
Genetically manipulated medicine or crops are not the evil substances many have been led to believe. Farmers and animal breeders have been manipulating their crops and stock for years, This is an aspect of medicine that is not just necessary but vital to the treatments of famine and pestilences
Medicine has benefitted from genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in a multitude of ways. GMOs can be found in all aspects of our lives. The laundry soap that has been modified to not just decrease the amount used but to be functional in cold water. They are actually adjusted to have less residue so in turn less ends up in our drinking water. In addition, the manufacturing and producing new treatments for antibiotic-resistant organisms. Both have benefitted from GMO (Fraley, 2015).
Unfortunately, those who mostly speak out about genetically altered items focus mostly on the use in agriculture (Marris, 2012). Many companies are currently working on producing main food crops (corn, wheat, soybeans) that are resistant to pests. This way there will be less need for pesticides and results in fewer pesticides finding their way to the water sources.
In an effort to help to fight worldwide famines they are also trying to produce crops that are more resistive to extremes in weather; more hearty (Goldbas, 2014). Through the years biotechnology, medicine and agriculture have gone through many changes and advances. These changes have been widely accepted as beneficial and most people forget where the substances came from (Amin et al, 2013).
In the early 1980's the US Food and Drug Administration approved DNA recumbent insulin for use in treating insulin-dependent diabetics. Three examples of these medications are Lantus, Toujeo, and Tresiba.
Most childhood diseases like diphtheria, measles, rubella, mumps, and whooping cough (pertussis) are now covered by vaccinations. In an effort to provide these vaccines to all people of the world a new way needs to be found to handle the number of doses needed. By making use of gene modification this is currently being studied.
In addition, there are many vaccines like the flu, that require new methods to make them as the virus they target keeps mutating. There is work being done presently to make a form of vaccinations that do not require refrigeration and be possible to be edible. In this way, areas that have no available refrigeration can still make use of the vaccines (Goldbas, 2016; Prasansuklab, A. et al, 2017).
Diseases around the world have prompted the production of biopharmaceuticals to keep pace with the need of things such as cures for Zika or Ebola. Clearly further investigation is needed about the risk and benefits of GMOs. Strict guidelines are also needed to govern the process of gene modification. For those who are against GMOs, they claim it is unnatural. Yet farmers and animal breeders have been manipulating the genetic makeup of their crops and animals for hundreds of years.
Already, in developing countries, millions have been helped from modified crops that have a denser concentration of nutrients. Students are being taught in biology class that while seemingly unnatural biotechnology is needed as the number of drug-resistant organisms increase.
New horizons have been opened by making use of GMOs in regenerative medicine. There are clinical trials going on right now in Europe to restore sight to individuals who have retinal disorders. Duchennes Muscular Dystrophy is also being closely studied in gene therapy. This disease is an inherited disorder that usually kills the affected child by early adulthood.
By the way, when I was born in upstate NY, there was an outbreak of polio. My mother contracted it when I was 6 months old. As a preventative, I was given both forms of the vaccine; one injection the other drops in my mouth. So the reality of edible vaccines are not a new concept, just a political nightmare.
Amin, Latifa, et al. "Stakeholders Attitude for Genetically Modified Foods and Medicine." Science World Journal, Dec. 2013, doi:10.1155/2013/516742
Fraley, Robert. "Surprise!: GMOs Aren't Just in the Foods You Eat." Fortune, Times Inc. 2018, fortune.com/2015/9/23gmo-monsanto-chipolte-germany
Goldbas, Abbie. "GMOs: What Are They."International Journal of Childbirth Education, vol.29, no. 3. July 2014. Search.proquest.com/central/docview/1545045515/fulltext/13337E06B1PQ/17accountid-11047
Marris, Clair. "Public Views on GMOs: Deconstructing the Myths."EMBO Reports, vol. 2, no 7. Jan. 2001. Doi: 10.1093/embo-reports/kve142
Prasansuklab, Anchalee, et al. "Ethanolic Extract of Streblus Asper Leaves Protects Against Glutamate-Induced Toxicity in HT22 Hippocampal Neuronal Cells and Extends Lifespan of Caenorhabditis Elegans." BMC Complimentary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 17, no. 1. Dec. 2017. Doi:10.1186/s12906-017-2050-3