According to a survey, only 7% of Italians know exactly how to answer the question "what are GMOs? ". Today we will try to provide you with the necessary answers about GMOs and their diffusion in Italy.
What are GMOs? The Theoretical Answer
The GMOs, Genetically modified organisms, are plants whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated. In this context we recognize GMOs transgenic is GMOs not transgenic. This distinction can be made on the basis of the genetic modification applied: if the genetic makeup is corrected to the organism by adding, eliminating or replacing a genetic trait with genes from the same species, we simply speak of GMOs. When the plant organism is replaced by a trait of the genetic makeup with genes "aliens ", i.e. coming from another organism, we speak of GMOs transgenic.
What are GMOs? In practical terms
The most famous case of GMOs transgenic is given by corn and, to explain what are GMOs in daily practice, we take corn as an example. Through engineering, the genetic makeup of maize has undergone upheavals that nature would never have allowed spontaneously. Corn is sensitive to a type of larva capable of destroying entire crops. The corn GMOs in it incorporates in its genetic structure the characters of a bacterium that lives underground, Bacillus thuringiensis. This bacterium is capable of synthesizing a substance that is fatal for the corn infesting larva. Genetically modified maize is not susceptible to the larva, indeed, the larvae that attack maize die because they take on the substance synthesized by the genetic traits artificially added to the maize seeds.
GMOs, pros and cons
The GMOs they offer new opportunities to the world of agriculture but also have negative sides. In the first place they are not well known enough, therefore their consumption could harm us. Man assumes GMOs directly and indirectly: through the direct consumption of GMO foods and by ingesting meat and animal derivatives of livestock fed with GMOs. This does not change for us Italians, in fact, in Italy the cultivation of GMOs but not the sale and consumption.
The positive sides include the possibility of producing fruit and vegetables richer in minerals, vitamins or certain proteins. In short, the GMOs can give life to a "super food ". In addition, they provide agri-food companies with a bigger harvest. However the GMOs they hide pitfalls and according to what he claims Greenpeace there are risks for human health as well as for the environment "Ecological risks are irreversible and still underestimated".
Once again, we can explain the risks associated with the spread of GMOs in practical terms. Returning to corn GMOs, the best predictions said it would be effective for at least 15 years, but as early as 2010, five of the top 13 pest larvae species have largely become immune to the poisons produced by the genetic traits added in GMO corn. Thus, within a few years the crops GMOs they triggered mutations that would never have occurred spontaneously, allowing the spread of stronger pests.