Why is genetically modified food produced?

1 Answer
Dec 11, 2016

Genetically modified food is produced to improve the natural product.


There are many ways that the original natural product can be improved genetically.

Golden rice for example has a gene spliced into the rice that builds proteins. Naturally occurring rice has little or no proteins. In many countries diets built around rice are deficit in protein. The genetically modified rice helps solve this problem.

Some species of wheat are vulnerable to a fungus. (rust) A gene that programs for an anti fungal protein can be spliced into the gene reducing the need for chemical control of the fungus. This lowers the cost of producing the wheat and increases yield. Similar efforts are made to splice in pesticides in food crops.

Genes that produce a growth hormone are spliced into commercially grown salmon. The genetically modified fish grow faster and substantially larger than than the native variety.

Ice plant has a gene that helps the plant resist freezing. By splicing this gene into food crops the food crops can be successfully grown in much colder climates.

There are many benefits to genetically modified foods. This is not to suggest that there are not also negative side effects with genetically modifying the food we eat.