Most of you probably think genetic engineering is a byproduct of the modern era, as an attempt for mankind to conquer nature. On the contrary, they have been around for thousands of years. However, it is not until recently that GMOs have proliferated and became an integral part of modern agriculture.
Recent History and Proliferation
Since the discovery of the DNA, scientists have conducted extensive studies and attempts at genetic modifications of living organism. The first patent was issued to General Electric some 35 years ago in 1980 for a modified bacterium that transformed spill cleanup efforts by gobbling up crude oil. Pretty neat stuff right? A couple years later, Genentech successfully produced human insulin by inserting human genome into E.Coli. It was considered a monumental breakthrough at the time.
Tomatoes were the first crops to be tested commercially. In 1994, the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved the first ever grown genetically modified crop to the market: Calgene’s Flavr Savr tomatoes. Designed to ripen slower and remain firm for longer periods than it’s competition, it became an overnight sensation. By 1995, a staggering 67% of cheese produced in the U.S. was being made from cows treated with some form of growth hormones.
Experts say that 60-70% of all produce in your local grocery store contains some form of genetic modification. “In 2014, GMO crops made up 94 percent of US soybean acreage, 93 percent of all corn planted, and 96 percent of all cotton.” The FDA stands firm on its decision allowing GMO products to remain unlabeled while the European Union imposed a complete ban for such products.
For the average consumer, there are few resources that provide unbiased opinions on the subject matter. Long-term effects of GMOs are still unknown to the human body. With little to no regulation, it is nearly impossible for consumers to differentiate natural and modified products. For those who have space, a growing number of people opted to grow and harvest their own food as a method of monitoring exactly what goes into their body. Luckily, there is now a market for indoor gardens, like Droponic, that allows anyone to grow their own indoor garden and be confident about what they’re consuming.