The transgenic foods are those that have in their composition at least one ingredient that comes from an organism to which genetic modifications or techniques were applied, that is, it is not typical of the original species. For instance: meats, wheat, potatoes, tomatoes.
Only from the optimization of the techniques of genetic manipulation of foods is that the use of transgenics can be generalized, and at present it is estimated that around 70% of the foods that are commonly consumed contain at least one gene that is not intrinsic to its species.
The way in which transgenics are developed is from the selection, among the millions of cells that a living being has, of those carriers of the desired chromosomes.
It is a experimental task for the cell is not a perfect or exact machine, and then the results can be varied.
The cells are then grown in the genetically modified heritage, which can then lead to further transformation if the bacteria produce growing hormones.
When did transgenic foods appear?
The first experiments with gene transfers were carried out in the decade of the ’70, and only in the subsequent one it happened that a transgenic plant could be made, which was a tobacco that was particularly resistant to the antibiotic kanamycin.
The first food that was commercialized with genes that were not characteristic of the species was a tomato, the Flav Flavor which had supposedly been altered for better taste and longer life. Progressively more agricultural products were incorporated, consequently with the sowing of adulterated seeds in response to the new times.
The diffusion of the use of transgenics was reason for the increase of the requirements consumers and therefore producers, being at this point essential to enter the food market to be willing to use this kind of alterations.
GMOs make it possible to make food have a longer commercial life, resist aggressive environmental conditions (frosts, droughts and saline soils), resist insect pests, herbicides and diseases, and at the same time have better nutritional qualities.
Currently, the level of controversies that exist regarding transgenic foods is very high, to the extent that there are many organizations that warn about different risks in its use.
They not only carry risks to the extent that they endanger genetic varietiesBut even to the extent that many consequences for the health of people have not yet been fully investigated: there are countries that prohibit the use of certain transgenics, according to the possible danger that they bring.
Examples of transgenic foods
Here are some of the foods that use GMOs, and the reason why their genes are altered.
- Soy. Modification in the seed, to be more resistant to herbicides.
- Corn. Genes inserted into the genome of the plant, to make it more resistant to insects.
- meats. Increase the size and weight of animals, and accelerate their growth rate.
- Wheat. Make it more resistant before droughts.
- Potato. Starch enzymes are invalidated.
- Tomatoes. Enzymes are inhibited to slow down the decomposition time.
- Rice. Introduction of three new genes, to obtain a rice with a higher content of vitamin A.
- Pumpkin. It is modified to protect the plant against viruses.
- Sugar. To make it resistant to herbicides.
- Banana. To make it more resistant, two species are crossed to make it.
- Cotton. With serious risks in its consumption in the case of cottonseed oil.
- Alfalfa. GMOs are added to make it resistant to the Roundup herbicide.
- Milk. Cows are given a hormone special to increase its production, banned in many countries in Europe and Asia.
- Oranges. Exposed to a substance (ethylene) that accelerates the degradation of chlorophyll.
- Aspartame. It is a transgenic compound that is used as a replacement for sugar, and it is highly toxic.
- Sunflower. Genes are altered to make it resistant to drought.
- Plum. GMOs are added to increase their productivity.
- Radicheta. GMOs are added to increase the sweetness in its flavor.
- Coffee. Modified in order to increase production.
- Grapes. Increase resistance and eliminate the seeds inside the fruit.