What is Genetic Engineering-Genetic Modification?

Genetic Engineering means the basic DNA molecules are redesigned to create new forms of life. Genes are the DNA blueprint building blocks found in all living things. This technology enables the manufacturers to break down genetic barriers between species and among humans, animals and plants. The genes from viruses, bacteria and antibiotics can be inserted into foods altering their genetic codes or their patterns of DNA, and these changes can be passed onto future generations. The extensive potential health and economic ramifications of this type of engineering can be endless.

The seeds of many chemically engineered or modified food products, such as corn, soy, cotton etc., have already been altered, modified, or spliced with foreign materials of various sorts. Think of a gene as a “string of pearls”. The scientists can pick a particular pearl area and alter it in many ways. They can fuse, or combine, certain pearls with other genes from other plants, viruses or bacteria, or tear them apart, for example with enzymes to the connections are altered or rearranged. Individual genes of some plants can be mixed with a wide variety of other genes to create new packages of genes, which can be reinserted into the original “string of pearls”. The whole process is hardly an exact science, especially when it happens outside a laboratory.

So what products are presently affected?

The major genetically-altered foods include: milk and dairy products, soybeans, soy oil, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, squash, carrots, certain fish, sugar beets, wheat, rice, papaya, cotton and the oils of canola and cottonseed. As each day passes, there are more.

It is also estimated that 90% of the money that Americans spend on foods are for processed products, and approximately 70% of these processed foods are now genetically modified. Dozens of new ones, such as strawberries and corn syrup, are already on the market, or are about to be released.

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