An Examination of the Health Risks of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)

Genetically modified organisms (GMO’s), are ‘organisms whose genetic structure has been altered by incorporating a gene that will express a desirable trait, often termed gene splicing. Most often, the transferred gene allows the organism to express a trait that would add to its desirability to both producers and consumers of the end product’.

The genetic engineering of foods, which is ‘the science that involves the deliberate modification of the genetic material of plants and animals’ (Uzogara, 2000), has adverse on human health as a result of their consumption.

Animal toxicity studies with certain GM foods have shown that they may toxically affect several organs and systems (Artemis and Ioannis, 2009). The types of potential hazards posed by this genetic modification vary depending on the type of organism being modified and the purpose it’s intended for. Health effects of primary concern to health assessors involve the production of new allergens, increased toxicity levels, and decreased nutritional, and antibiotic resistance.

Food allergy affects 5% of children and 2% of adults in the US alone, and is therefore, a significant public health threat (Bakshi, 2003).

Allergic reactions normally occur in the human body, when a protein enters the human body simulating a response from the immune system (Bernstein, 2003). In cases where that novel protein is from a source known to cause human allergies, the protein may elicit an immune response as the immune system might consider it foreign resulting to allergic reactions. Vitro evidence suggesting the probability of GMO causing allergic reactions in humans have resulted to companies discontinuing their development

Antibiotics are ‘chemical substances produced by various species of micro-organisms that suppress the growth of other microorganisms and may eventually destroy them’.

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(Sande et al., 1990). Biotechnologists use antibiotic resistance genes as selectable markers, when inserting new genes into plants. In case the plant does not incorporate the gene into its genome, bacteria in the human gut can pick up the antibiotic resistance gene from consuming the GM plants products before the DNA becomes completely incorporated (Goldstein et al., 2005).

Most of the plants consumed by humans produce toxins at levels low enough not to cause adverse effects on their health. Inserting alien genes into a plant system, could cause the plant to produce higher levels of toxins that could negatively impact on human health if products from such plants are consumed by humans. In addition food contagion with aflatoxins, (Abrar et al., 2013) could also result to high levels of toxicity incase such foods are consumed.

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An Examination of the Health Risks of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). (2023, Feb 18). Retrieved from

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