What are GMOs?

What are GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms)? Does genetic engineering cause risks for human health and the environment?

What are GMOs? Genes contain information on the characteristics of every living organism (vegetable or animal). Genetic engineering can modify this information by transferring genes from an organism (e.g. bacteria) to another one (e.g. vegetables, livestock). By doing so, it can, for example, slow down the apparent deterioration of tomatoes, or make chickens produce eggs “enhanced” with particular substances.

This manipulation creates GMOs, Genetically Modified Organisms.

Genetic engineering is applied to agriculture in order to perfect product characteristics, such as making them more resistant (to pesticides, the cold, etc.), or more competitive from a commercial point of view (e.g. larger dimensions, flawless look).

Genetic modifications are carried out by companies that patent these “new” organisms, in order to commercialize them and gain an exclusive economic benefit.

Genetic modifications in agricultural products are not free of risks. Genetically Modified Organisms have been shown to be dangerous to human health, as well as for the environment. Moreover, if not properly regulated, agricultural genetic engineering could have effects on the economies of the developing countries, and could significantly damage several small producers.

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