“GMO” stands for Genetically Modified Organism, it can be a plant or an animal or a bacteria or a virus. But what is the purpose of creating these all new genetically modified organisms?
The most compelling factors of GMOs is that its effective application in agriculture and industries. For the demand of the growing population around the world, GMO has become an important part of agriculture.
The aim of genetic modification in agriculture is to tackle the problems related to native crops like low nutrient content, high demand of water supply to cultivate the crops, attack of insects and pest-related problems.
Genetically Modified Organism is an organism whose genetic material or genome is altered or modified using some sort of genetic engineering. Earlier it was only conceptional but with the advent of technology and researches, it is not only possible now but also started to show effective results.
In 1982, the first Genetically Modified Organism, an antibiotic-resistant tobacco plant was produced. China was the first country to commercialize transgenic plants, introducing a virus-resistant tobacco in 1992.
After these inventions, a lot of varieties of cotton, corn, soybeans were developed. Beside this GM Papaya, GM Tomato, GM Petunia flower also became very common.
But with the success of GMOs arises another question, that is, how safe they are?
Studies are showing contradicting results on the ill effects of GMO, and only a few long-term humans or animal studies are available leading to debatable discussion and not a concludable result
In India, BT cotton is the only GM crop used till now. In 2017-18 cotton production in India amounted to around 6.21 million metric tons. But other crops are not getting this much popularity because of certain questions regarding its safety and testing process. Another limitation of GMOs are the lack of public awareness, fear among consumers, ethical issues, and negative sentiments related to GMO.
Despite several benefits, GMOs are trapped in a conflict because of its certain limitations which can be solved with the help of effective communication between the scientific community and the public.
Now, other developing countries are also preferring GM crops like insect resistant brinjal (eggplant) on large scale. Facts say that if we use GM crops in a well-managed form, then the day is not very far when the countries will be able to meet their own demands.
The scientific community should take it as their duty to communicate with people at regular interval so that the public awareness will increase.
The role of government is also very important in implementing the usage of GM crops effectively with effective policies that could benefit all communities of society.
Article by Pranav Khatri
Edited by M R Raghul