Genetic engineering, or genetically modified organisms (GMO), is a term sure to raise fears in the population. This concern is based mainly on the great disinformation shared on social networks and the media. So what is genetic engineering? It is pre-planned modification of genes of organisms, in other words, it is a specific planned change in the organism’s genetic material to determine how that organism will look and which properties it will display.
Humans have changed and genetically modified creatures for thousands of years, by using all kinds of ancient (and familiar) methods, such as crossbreeding between plants or between farm animals. Such hybridization is similar to re-editing a book using two books. All the pages of the two books are torn apart in a completely random manner and are bound to a new book. In this respect, genetic engineering means the exact cutting of a specific single paragraph and replacing it with a paragraph in another book.
Many studies have shown that this hybridization improves the organisms’ properties and significantly increases crop yields. Nor is it dangerous at all. This is the only method that is subject to oversight and regulation, as opposed to randomized crossbreeding.
Yet the intimidation campaign includes claims such as how dangerous it is introducing foreign genes into other plants, the lack of effect on the organism’s yield and productivity, the unnatural intervention in nature and even the harm it will have on public health.
The vast majority of these claims lack any basis. The modification of genes is actually better for public health. It reinforces live organisms and plant production, thus reducing, for example, the need for pesticide spraying, which reduces pollution of the environment. With increased yields, it allows us to grow more crops today, with higher productivity and better land utilization. We must stop being afraid of this “unnatural” intervention in order to feed the growing number of people on this planet.