I first learned about the presence of GMOs in my daily diet when we were shown the Genetic Analysis Laboratory (GARL) at a course in Molecular Biology in 2003. We were lucky to have a post-graduate student working there at the time, whose research was to develop methods for testing sausage products for quality standards. He took the highest grade of sausage and determined its soybean content, which should not be there. The idea of the method was that the sign of soybeans in the sausage was an engineering gene built into the plant. That is, the default method was assumed that any soybeans added by producers to the sausage (as well as all soybeans in general) – GMO. Tell this story to the opponents of GMOs – for them it will be a surprise that, at least since 2003, all but the highest grade of sausage contains GMO.
Next, I will tell you how often we use GMOs, about the technology of their production and safety for humans.
First, we will distinguish between GMO products and GMO-containing products.
GMO products are based on the example of insulin, which was previously produced exclusively from the pancreas of pigs and cattle. The human insulin gene is introduced into the bacterial genome, which replicates and synthesizes it on an industrial scale in a bioreactor. Such insulin is cheaper, chemically purer and does not cause allergies, in contrast to what is obtained in animals. Medicines, vaccines and much more are also synthesized in the food and pharmaceutical industries. The final product of production in this case does not contain GMO.
Products containing GMOs will be considered on the example of an apple. Everyone remembers what apples were like 15 years ago? From the impact or on the incision they became dark after a few hours, and the holes from the worms were commonplace. Now such apples are very rare. Today’s apple contains built-in genes that suppress its pigmentation and decomposition, and worms don’t like them even without pesticides. Digesting such an apple in the stomach will require more energy and enzymes than usual. Other genetic inserts make it inedible to worms. The large number of genetic inserts leads to a decrease in the synthesis of secondary metabolites in the apple. “Secondary” – because they are not vital for the plant itself, but they are the vitamins, antioxidants and other useful substances for humans.
This is how different the use of GMOs can be and how ambiguous the security issue is. Moreover, GMO products have long been present in our daily lives even more often than we are told in the media and the Government.
Officially only 5 genetically modified plants have been approved as foodstuffs in Russia:
1. Soybeans resistant to herbicides and pesticides
2. Potatoes that are toxic to the Colorado beetle and produce antibiotics
3. Corn resistant to herbicides and pesticides, producing toxins against insects
4. Pesticide Resistant Rice
5. Sugar beet resistant to herbicides
It just seems a little bit. In fact, these plants are used to produce protein supplements, starch, fiber, flour, bran and many other products used daily in the diet of each person.
But that’s not all. Russia produces and imports GMO-based products: wines, beers, and fermented milk products. Missed hard cheese? But even those cheeses produced in Russia are produced using genetically modified bacteria that synthesize rennet enzymes. “Sychuzhny” – because it was previously obtained from the stomach glands of ruminants, for which thousands of newborn calves were killed.
Do you still think that GMOs should be abandoned and borders closed? Shall we continue to kill animals to get insulin and cheese? Shall we plant all the fertile land with traditional seeds and fill it with tons of pesticides and herbicides? I’m afraid we’re going to be hungry and dying out. Hunger and extinction from obscurantism and backwardness.