When I was in school, I was obsessed with the idea of cloning. It fascinated me to the point that any time I had to write a research paper it was always about cloning. How strange it is that man is able to create things like Dolly the sheep and ventured to even try to go as far as dream about growing human organs for transplants. The heights man could reach when they tampered with genetics in the labs, but was it right? There are failed experiments such as sick and dying sheep, and I began to have a personal conviction that led me to believe that it is cruel to meddle with nature in that way.
But what I didn't realize is that genetic engineering didn't end there.
My streak with writing papers on cloning had broken once I learned about genetically modified food. I couldn't believe that just as man was genetically altering and changing things such as sheep, they were also doing it to food. Ok, makes sense because if they can do one what's to say they can't do the other?
But what are GMOs?
Why were they created?
Are there side effects with genetically altered food like there are with cloning?
I had to find answers. So I did my senior research paper on the topic. It's been three years now since I've graduated and I no longer have the paper. The information that I learned has remained and even grown, though. Now I want to share it with more than just high school students, I want to share it with everyone else. If any of you have talked to me in person about this subject, you know how passionate I am about it.
What are GMOs?
"GMO" stands for Genetically Modified Organism. The term "genetically engineered" has also been used. This is the genetic altering or changing of any organism to fit a certain purpose. Some say that GMOs should stand for "God Move Over", as they see that man taking nature into his own hands is blasphemous. Man has engineered everything from bacteria all the way to plants and animals. I could tell you that research shows that we started genetically modifying things back in the mid-20th century when the scientists started engineering bacteria for purposes such as eating away at oil spills or fighting certain diseases. (This website will show a brief timeline of the history of GMOs: gmoinside.org/gmo-timeline-a-history-genetically-modified-foods/) I think it started earlier, though. Think centuries before.
Gregor Mendel - does anyone recognize this name? No? It's funny, I remember learning about him in Bro. Yoder's science class back at the private Christian school I attended many years ago. He fascinated me: a monk who was one of the earlier biologists. This man paved the way for farmers and scientists! He discovered the connections of genetics and science and found a way you can calculate the outcomes of cross pollination with recessive and dominant genes. He practiced with various types of peas and recorded his findings that were the foundation for the science we use today.
So whether they were cross breeding dogs or cross pollinating plants it did start many centuries ago. And I know how people must think I act when it comes to GMOs: "evil! GMOs are all a part of Satan's plan to destroy the world! Save yourselves!" All that as I proceed to slap a Starbucks cup out of my best friend's hand. Don't get me wrong, I don't think GMOs started out or even now are meant to be "evil". Everything genetically modified has had a purpose.
Herbert Boyer wasn't a "mad scientist" who was hellbent on spreading evil throughout the world with his genetically engineered plasmid to act as human insulin. Him and his friend Stanley N. Cohen were probably just very nice scientists who were trying to help diabetics when they started working with rDNA and bacteria. In 1978, God allowed them to bless the world with their discovery. I don't think that's evil, do you?
In 1982, the FDA approved the first GMO when they allowed the insulin Herbert Boyer and his coworker created as well as...wait for it..the Flavr Savr tomato! Yes, this fabulous tomato had a longer shelf life than all the other tomatoes. Oh, but that was only the beginning. Scientists began engineering crops that were pest and weed repellent. That's amazing!
What looked like salvation to the people with crops that were supposed to be hardy and plentiful soon started looking like a disaster, though. Companies that sold genetically modified seeds promised enhanced nutrition, salt-tolerance, and better outcomes in growth rates. The truth is different. The promises made for lowering poverty and hunger around the world never fell through. Other problems rose instead.
Those crops that were supposed to be pest resistant are having a harder time being resistant now because now the pests are GMO crop resistant! Yes, you read that right! Why is it that bug sprays are working less and less anymore? Why do they have to keep developing stronger ones? Why are farmers still fighting off pests and weeds when we have the miracles GMOs bring? Because we have to to fight fire with fire now.
More allergies such as skin allergies have started increasing ever since we started genetically modifying food. We loose nutrients and the food can carry side effects from the additives, preservatives, and the modifications. I'm about to get real nasty...prepare yourselves...
Do you wonder why you or a loved one suffer from skin or other health problems? It's a good possibility the food you settle for...yes, I said settle...isn't real food. No, you are eating crap, such as cheese puffs that offer no nutrition and only problems with the dyes and the additives. And those of you who admit that you understand the problems that this genetically engineered or fake food cause and still eat it, well I seriously don't see why you complain about the health problems. You already know what you are doing to yourself.
I know that sounded rude, and I'm not perfect in my diet, but I feel that if you know something you have a responsibility to yourself and others to act on that knowledge.
For those of you who don't really believe me, trust me - we aren't done yet. Over the next few weeks we are going to talk about companies such as Monsanto, health problems that arise from GMOs, and more. I hope you all stay reading the blog as we touch on these subjects. It could change your life.
It did mine.
Says, H. B., & Says, L. (n.d.). Home. Retrieved September 20, 2016, from http://www.famousscientists.org/gregor-mendel/
(n.d.). Herbert W. Boyer and Stanley N. Cohen. Retrieved September 20, 2016, from https://www.chemheritage.org/historical-profile/herbert-w-boyer-and-stanley-n-cohen
What's wrong with GM crops? (n.d.). Retrieved September 20, 2016, from http://www.stopthecrop.org/whats-wrong-gm-crops
From Corgis to Corn: A Brief Look at the Long History of GMO Technology - Science in the News. Retrieved September 20, 2016, from http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2015/from-corgis-to-corn-a-brief-look-at-the-long-history-of-gmo-technology/
Author: Tina Potter
Master Herbalist, I've graduated as an American Healthcare College Alumnus, I've become a member of American Herbalist Guild and author of survivalist series Survival Ember co-authored by professional survivalist Kenny Dietrich of Ashland, KY. I've been beyond blessed with the constant desire to learn and teach.
COMMON SENSE NOTICE: I do not claim to diagnose, treat, or cure disease. What you do with the information I post is up to you, but it is advised to consult with a doctor before acting on alternative methods of medicine. I wish you all the best!