GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism. GMO refers to the organisms whose genetic identity is altered and redefined using Genetic Engineering Techniques. This method is used in the field of farming, animal breeding, etc. in other words we can say that these animals or organisms do not occur naturally through the natural mating process, genes are transferred within species ranging from microorganisms, plants, animals creating transgenic organisms. Either there will be an introduction of new genes or alteration of the existing gene or excluding the gene itself for the development of new organisms or species. Genetic engineering includes a variety of techniques ranging from artificial insemination, cloning, in vitro fertilization, or gene manipulation, etc.
Humans have implemented various methods for breeding purposes from a very early era, be it cattle, sheep, farming, or other animals to get maximum benefits and meet better productivity. However, over the period science has evolved itself so vastly that biotechnology has enabled the scientists to directly modify the genes( DNA ) of plants, microorganisms as well as animals. The first genetic remodeling took place in 1972 when Paul Berg created a recombinant DNA by combining the DNA derived from the monkey virus and combining it with the Lambda virus.
In 1973 Herbert Boyer and Stanley Cohen together created the first genetically modified organism. Rudolf Jaenisch created a transgenic mouse in the year 1974, he introduced a foreign DNA into the embryo of the mouse thus introducing the world’s first transgenic organism. Genetically modified organisms are used for the purpose of research whereas genetically modified plants have become more of the food supply in today’s world to meet the requirement of people across the globe. Genetic engineering has helped scientists to pick out the DNA and modify it in such a way that it can improve the genetic quality of any organism and get rid of unwanted features.
The genetically modified organisms produced by genetic engineering most of the time become models to further study the function of genes and it has its scope in the field of medical science wherein we can understand how a gene can be a responsible factor for the health and disease in the person. However genetic modeling in animals is also done for making the availability of animals for human consumption and meet the demand of the growing population. For example in plants, there are several crops that are available yearly once or are biennial or perennial but to meet the demand for human consumption the crop is genetically modified so that it is available round the year. Similar is the case for animals, for example, in chicken, growth hormones are injected to improve the production and quality to meet the market demand.
The animals or plants which are produced through the process of genetic engineering have a controversy since they are produced either by injecting growth hormones or by genetic modification, they are not considered natural and increases the risk of any allergic reactions or disorders if consumed. Over the years there has been an increase in the number of hormonal problems among the population and food made from these genetically modified sources is considered as one of the reasons. Not only genetic modification but also the genes from an organism is inserted into the entirely different organism.
However, scientists are considering GMOs in biomedical research which will enhance the quality of GMO foods and help in providing better nutrition and health to the people.
GMOs are managed by government agencies. The government agencies need to approve any GMO whether its an animal or crop or even the minutest organism. The Cartagena Protocol On Biosafety is an international treaty which handles the use of genetically modified organisms. 150 countries are members of this protocol. This treaty proposes rules and guidelines towards the production and use of GMOs.
1. What is GMO in Biotechnology?
Ans: Genetic material is artificially modified to enhance their properties and reduce their negativities. Such organisms are called genetically modified organisms.
2. What are the Risks and Benefits of GMOs?
Ans: Potential risk of GMOs for human health is causing any allergy since the property of the plant or animal is not completely natural, their genes are modified for the purpose of improving the quality and quantity. The benefits would be increased nutritional value of the substance due to the modification.