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Genetically Modified Organisms


Genetically modified organisms are organisms whose genes have been altered by use of genetic means. The safety of GMOs is a source of ongoing debate. This is because GMOs are produced by cloning of genes of different organisms and if done uncontrollably, then there is the fear of using untested GMOs. In this essay we will examine the pros and cons of using genetically modified soya beans.

Genetically modified soy

Soybean is among the world’s provider of oil and protein. The soybean was commercially grown in the US in the 1950s and today the American Soybean Association exports about 50% of the soybeans to Japan while the European Union is the second largest market for US soybeans. In 1997-1999, GMOs in the US accounted for two thirds of all processed foods and today it is estimated that in the US, 91% of the soybeans planted were genetically modified. Soybeans are used for a variety of foods including soy beverages, tofu, soy flour, soy oil, bread, pastries, snack foods, baked products and edible oil products. Thus the soy beans are quiet important as they support a variety of foods and also for exports (Butcher M.)

The idea of introducing bacterial genes into soybeans to enhance their growth, add nutritional contents and make them resistant to pests and diseases has now become a common thing in plant technology. At the same time, the safety of these foods produced by technology has attracted a lot of debate. The idea of introducing bacterial genes into plants as natural pesticides to eliminate chemical pesticide has been hotly debated by concerned people over the consequences of consuming these natural pesticides (Butcher M.). So the question is; is GM soy a health risk? Experiments done suggest that offspring born from GM soybeans have a low birth weight, there’s a high risk of death for the young ones consuming soy foods. Although the GM soy has been linked to sterility and infant mortality, debate still rages whether the GM soy is safe for use by man. Efforts to control gene expression have also been frustrated in some quarters heightening the risk

A research carried out in Russian academy of sciences revealed that women who consume GM foods are at a higher risk of endangering their unborn babies. The research conducted using rats as an example found out that more than half of the offspring of rats that were fed on soybeans died in the first three weeks after birth. This was six times more than those born to mothers on normal soy. It was also found that six times of those under the GM diet were underweight. This is really worrying especially to humans as the morphology and biochemical structures of rats and humans are very similar as they point to a risk of mothers and their babies on soybeans food. The above experiment was done by Russian scientists who added flour from GM soy (from Monsanto) to the diet of female rats and mated them two weeks later, they then continued to feed them on GM soy during pregnancy, birth and nursing. Others were given normal soybean diet. The results showed that within three weeks, 55.6% of offspring’s whose mothers were fed on GM soy died compared to only 9% on non-GM soy. Also six times of the offspring’s on GM soy influence were severely underweight (Lean G. 2006).   


The issue of GM foods in our midst has drawn a lot of heated debate whether they are safe to use or not. Although restructured to be; insect resistant, drought resistant and have additional nutritional diet the consumption of soybean has been put in doubt over some experiments that were done. The experiments although done on rats showed that the GM soy can increase infant mortality rates and also severely reduce the offspring’s weight. Thus the issue of using GMOs before they are fully understood is an issue that needs to be looked at carefully.








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