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Food Genetically Modified Crops

The debate over whether Food Genetically Modified (GM) crops are safe is as heated as it is wide. Several African nations are refusing to import these foods, citing the cost and lack of safety. In Asia, most GM crops are still not approved by national governments. In the United States, the FDA has not approved any GM crops, although several Asian countries have made exceptions. Some of the most widely-marketed GM crops include insect-resistant rice, which requires less pesticide and water.

Concerns about GM foods include toxins, allergens, and genetic hazards. The mechanisms involved in these problems fall into three categories. First, inserted genes cause problems in plants and animals through secondary and pleiotropic gene expression. Second, inserted genes cause insertional mutagenesis, which results in unpredictable and harmful allergenic effects. Third, genetically modified foods can be unsafe for human consumption. Consequently, GM foods should be avoided wherever possible.

Final Touch

Some of these GM crops have been used for years to combat famine. A golden rice crop is one example. Developed with an enhanced ss-carotene content, golden rice is an excellent solution for vitamin A deficiency. Another GM crop that has been modified to tolerate prolonged droughts is sugarcane. Its ability to withstand drought periods makes it a viable solution to the problem of low vitamin A.

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