Genetically Modified Organisms. Can We Live Without Them?
The world as we know it today would not even exist without a significant amount of various genetically modified organisms that allow our modern lifestyle to exist on different levels. We see them everywhere. This is the reason why we should not be afraid of them but rather learn how to co-exist since we simply cannot get rid of them anymore.
What Is Genetic Modification?
Some may be surprised, but we started modifying various organisms thousands years ago and we didn’t even start with plants. We started from more complex animals when we decided to domesticate some animals. Only certain individuals were selected from each new generation. Early humans wanted loyal dogs and meatier cattle and thus tried to breed animals that would fit certain criteria.
Later on, humanity started to grow plants. Agriculture is a great example of genetic modification that took several more thousands of years to develop certain types of grain and fruits that were more nutritious, could grow in specific climates, and ensured that we have food at any given moment of time.
Modern technology simply allows us to make these changes quicker without waiting for several generations until specific changes happen naturally. Yes, we do not fully know all possible consequences of changing some organisms in such dramatic ways. Some mutations may significantly affect future generations of specific plants and make them poisonous or wipe them out completely. However, this is a price that we have to pay for progress.
Progress Is Unstoppable
We have to come to terms with the artificial evolution that is happening right now as you read this article. Humanity will never stop to alter the world. Our curiosity, ambitions, and altruism even will always push us forward. We will be constantly seeking for new ways to make things and organisms better, more useful and efficient.
Modern crops are not afraid of some diseases and rodents, they poison insects that could eat them, and grow in climates that were never suitable habitats for their species. Just a couple of changes made this possible. We had to work to understand which exact changes were needed, but they turned out to be quite small in the grand scheme of things.
We cannot stop these small alterations from happening. We need to learn how to control them and live with new organisms that we have already created. Very soon we are going to start eating laboratory grown meat and walk amongst evergreen oaks. This doesn’t mean that we have to hate them and spit in the face of scientists who just want to make the world better.