The cells of plants and animals carry their instructions in the form of DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid), which is contained in genes. To make a protein, the sequence of genetic letters in each gene gets copied into matching strands of RNA (Ribonucleic acid) in a process called expression, which then float out of the nucleus to guide the protein-making machinery of the cell in a process called translation.

Until very recently, genetically engineered organisms were created by deletion of some of the genes in their genetic makeup or insertion of genes from external sources into their genetic makeup. This article is the third of a four-series feature on genetic engineering, after Genetic Engineering – Definition, History, Benefits and Risks, and, Genetic Engineering – The Great GMO Debate. Its aim is to highlight several advances in genetic engineering where organisms such as plants and animals have been modified without interfering with the composition and sequence of genes in their genetic makeup, which has not only been controversial, but is also very expensive and labor intensive.

For the last seventeen years 

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Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) have with time brought a sense of anxiety in the minds of consumers and environmentalists, among others; and this has resulted in a marked divide between the proponents and opponents when it comes to the use of genetically engineered foods.

Proponents believe that the increased yields resulting from genetic engineering can bolster food security and efficiently, affordably and responsibly feed the 7.6 billion people currently living on Earth. Opponents of genetic engineering, however argue that this technology has only been around since the 1990s, therefore, the true long-term health or environmental effects of these products cannot be known.

This article is the second of a four-series feature on genetic engineering, after Genetic Engineering – Definition, History, Benefits and Risks. It aims at outlining the two sides of the debate, the reasons why each side feels the way they do, and the points that justify each opinion.

Is genetic engineering a potential cure for world hunger?

Whether GMOs’ increased yields can feed a hungry world or whether they cannot is a big debate. Proponents of GM foods argue that since GMOs are easier to produce in large quantities, and may be modified to have a longer shelf life, they have the potential to reduce world hunger and poverty, improve nutrition, health and rural livelihoods, and facilitate social and environmental sustainability; especially if they are efficiently distributed to places where food is sparse. Anti-GM activists refute this argument by wondering why GMO manufacturers have not shown any interest whatsoever in using them to alleviate world hunger; they wonder why, in the two decades that GM crops have existed, the world has experienced several famines and disasters that could have benefited from genetically engineered food; they contend that GMOs divert money and resources that would otherwise be spent on more safe, reliable, and appropriate non-GMO agricultural technologies.

Continue Reading "Genetic Engineering – The Great GMO Debate"


Advances in genetic engineering have revolutionized medicine for decades; helping us to better understand biological processes, improve disease diagnosis, treat several diseases and conditions, and develop a wide range of vaccines.

When it comes to food and agriculture, however, the development of genetic engineering and proliferation of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), is often clouded in confusion, fear, and an instinctual reflex to protect our food. This is probably because of a lack of clear understanding of GMOs and the inability to separate fact from myth.

Continue Reading "Genetic Engineering – Definition, History, Benefits and Risks"