Arguments against GMOs

Transgenics , or genetically modified organisms (GMO), are produced in the laboratory by introducing genes from other species in order to attribute to them characteristics that could not be incorporated naturally or by artificial selection.

One example is a new variety of cotton, developed from a gene in the bacterium Bacillus thuringensis , which produces a protein that is extremely toxic to certain insects and worms. Others, more daring, include drought-resistant string beans, soy with antibodies against cancer, lettuce and tomato with anti-diarrheal protein, and transgenic animals with fortified milk.

The use of these organisms and the products that contain them is a subject of considerable prominence and controversy. Advocates – such as Monsanto, Dupont, Syngenta, Groupe Limagrain, Land OLakes , KWS AG, Bayer Crop, Takii, Sakata and DLF-Trifolium – claim that these foods are more productive and resistant , reduce pesticide use and could end up with the problem of hunger in the world. Thus, according to them, GMOs use less natural resources and improve the lives of farmers.

The opposite side , on the other hand, emphasizes ethical issues , questioning how far the human right to alter nature goes and points out that, since Malthus, it is known that the problem of hunger is not due to lack of food, but to poor distribution. of these – which contradicts the argument given by those who defend the GMOs.

In addition, some evidence has already been identified, such as the fact that the transgenic genetic material surpasses the 20-meter perimeter (defined as “safe” by CTNBio) between crops, contaminating conventional crops, as in Paraná, by MON 810 corn; intoxication of animal and plant species by transgenic components, such as amphibians, by glyphosate; the resistance of GMOs (and agricultural pests, such as the fall armyworm) to pesticides, making the use of these products, after a few years, frighteningly exceed the values ​​used in conventional crops (according to IBAMA, 85% more), causing even greater environmental impacts; the occurrence of allergies, food intolerances and other physiological problems (British newspaper The Independent reported that Monsanto had conducted research that showed that mice fed a diet rich in genetically modified corn developed smaller kidneys and changes in their blood); elimination or removal of pollinators; and the possible monopolization of agriculture in the hands of large companies, harming family farming (which accounts for most of the food products consumed in Brazil). In relation to this last factor, it is interesting to point out the case of sterile transgenic plants, classified as being of the “terminator” type: as they do not reproduce, they make the farmer have the constant need to buy new seeds, in addition to the specific pesticide of this species. culture, called Round-up,

There is also the possibility that these foods reduce or cancel the effect of antibiotics on the body (remembering that bacterial genes are used in many of them) and the possibility of losing control over the original individuals and the transgenics, which can cause inestimable impacts on all biodiversity. , such as adding new genotypes, eliminating species, exposing individuals to new diseases, reducing genetic diversity, and disrupting nutrient and energy recycling. It is worth mentioning the research carried out by researchers at the Central Institute of Experimental Animals in Japan, published in the scientific journal Nature, which showed that transgenic monkeys can pass the implanted gene to their pups – meaning that the aforementioned possibilities are real.

Thus, it is clear that, at least until more studies are done, until improvements in inspection are adopted and until consistent arguments and results regarding the safety of these types of products are provided, the precautionary principle should be considered. The lack of credit for this practice allowed that mad cow disease could also cause human contamination and that countless babies were born with deformities due to the use of thalidomide by their mothers during pregnancy.

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