The Death of GMOs
Yesterday was the first official day of the New Year. Some of us were off work and recuperating from the night before... and I was one of those people.
I was luckily enough to have the day to sit in my house and recover from the past two months of holiday activities and food.
Between the months of November and December, most of us tend to ignore that we just ate our fifth cookie in a span of 30 minutes. The holiday season is the time to indulge.
Which brings us to two of the most popular resolutions for the New Year: going to the gym and eating better. Those two resolutions most often go hand in hand.
Being healthy is important.
I realize this every day. I have become more aware of the effect the food I eat has on both my mental and physical health. Not to mention that nowadays it’s become trendy to be healthy and buy organic.
However, our efforts to becoming the healthiest we can be might not be enough. At least, the food that we consume isn’t enough, even if it is fresh and healthy.
The vegetables, fruits, and grains we eat don’t have sufficient nutrients to adequately maintain our health.
I mean, yes, they have all the nutrients, but it's nearly impossible to consume the amount of food you’d need to fulfill your daily nutrition.
Getting Healthier Just Got Easier
You probably won’t believe me when I say this, but there’s a technology out there that’s going to alter crops to contain enough nutrients to achieve our daily nutrition recommendations.
This technology is going to be groundbreaking. It’s going to change the way we think about agriculture and nutrition. This technology involves gene editing.
Don’t get it confused with genetically modified organisms (GMOs). It's very different from GMOs.
Gene editing is a group of technologies that can be used to alter a crop’s genome, or genetic material.
Imagine the possibilities that will come from being able to edit a crop's genome.
If a crop is predisposed to a disease, all you have to do is snip that predisposition from the crop's genome, and the disease will be easily removed.
Farmers will no longer have to risk their time, money, and efforts with a crop that would eventually become diseased and unusable.
Better yet, with gene editing, there’s the possibility of increased crop yields. Increasing crop yields could have the biggest impact on our world, giving food producers the ability to produce more food and reduce world hunger.
Increasing crop yields could mean grocery prices get reduced. If there’s more of a certain product, then there’s no reason for that product to hold a high price tag — especially fresh produce, which is essential to our nutrition.
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Say Goodbye to GMOs
Gene editing should not be compared to GMO technology. Gene editing doesn’t hold the baggage of GMOs.
Adrian Percy, the global head of research and development for Bayer Crop Science, said:
With GMOs, we introduce a foreign material into the plant. With gene editing, we make changes to the existing genome, rather than with a foreign genetic material.
Introducing a foreign material can have adverse effects, especially when it comes to a person’s health. There’s no way of knowing how this foreign material could affect a person until years later, and then it might be too late.
Another benefit of gene editing is time. It takes at least 13 years to produce a genetically modified product and around $130 million to commercialize the product. And even then there’s no guarantee the product will be something consumers even trust.
Gene-edited products could be developed in half the time it takes for GMOs to be produced.
Gene editing technologies will most likely mainly aim to increase the nutritional value of a product. One example is producing bread with three times the fiber of a normal loaf of bread. Fiber is very important to every person’s diet, and increasing the amount we receive will greatly benefit our health.
Eating more fiber has been shown to help the digestive system, support heart health, and assist with blood sugar levels. It also helps with weight loss. These are benefits every person could have, easily made possible with gene editing.
Another benefit of gene editing technologies is that they won’t require the long regulatory processes that are generally associated with genetically modified organisms. Products will get to market quicker to be available for sale and consumption.
Morrie Bryant, senior marketing manager at DuPont Pioneer, said:
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) responded in April 2016 that gene editing will not be regulated like a GMO. With GMOs, you bring in genetic material from other species. That is not what we are doing.
Since gene-editing technologies don't introduce foreign elements, the product is considered safer. And because it’s safer, there’s no reason for the USDA to spend more time ensuring the product is safe for consumers.
GMOs have endured hesitation and negative feedback from consumers, and for good reason. We’re now living in a society where we want to know exactly where the food we’re eating came from and how it got to us.
We don’t want to eat anything that has been altered with a foreign material. Like I mentioned earlier, we don’t know the effects foreign material could have on our health. That's a risk many people aren't willing to take.
Companies involved with gene editing technologies will need to be very transparent with consumers, telling them what’s inside their food and that it’s safe. This will be easy for these companies because they have no reason to hide anything from consumers.
This is just the tip of the iceberg for gene editing and the benefits it’ll have on our lives and the world.
If you want to learn more about the technology, my colleague Jason Stutman is putting the finishing touches on a report about one company that’s leading the way in changing agriculture for the better with gene editing. He's planning to send it to you very soon, so keep an eye on your inbox. In the meantime, you can check out our latest podcast, where Jason discusses more benefits of this incredible technology.
Personally, I’m really excited to see more opportunities come out of gene editing technology. Look for Jason's report to hit your inbox soon, and be a part of history by getting in on the ground floor.
Until next time,
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