Speaking Notes Draft
SCI-200: Applied Natural Sciences
December 11, 2022
Speaking Notes Draft
My topic’s scientific background:
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) refer to those organisms that have undergone genetic alteration through genetic engineering. Genetic alteration deviates from the natural form of organisms (Dona & Arvanitoyannis, 2009). GMOs have scientific roots in the work of two biochemists, Stanley Cohen, and Herbert Boyer. In 1973, the two developed the concept of genetic engineering by transferring DNA across bacteria (Goldberg, 2001). Later in 1982, the first GMO product meant for consumption was approved by the FDA; human insulin was used in the treatment of diabetes (Goldberg, 2001). Henceforth, the science of genetic engineering is responsible for modifying the phenotype of organisms by changing the genetic makeup and is performed using gene recombination or simple mating. DNA is inserted into an organism’s genome. For example, the introduction of new DNA in a plant cell leads to a genetically modified plant with its seeds matching the introduced DNA. Genetic modification of food has to do with introduction of DNA stretches in genomes of food plants to give them different characteristic
Relationship to Natural Sciences
The concept of GMO is directly related to natural sciences, specifically to the four biological sciences of Biology, Zoology, Botany, Genetics, and Microbiology. Animals (Zoology), plants (Botany), and microorganisms (Microbiology) form the basis of GMOs. Also important, the genetic alteration of organisms implies that their biological traits (Biology) are tempered to give rise to an improved version. GMOs are also adopted to produce human and animal food to enhance biological processes responsible for life.
Impact on my audience:
Females of child barring age who are GM foods consumers must understand the facts about the likely impact of their food choices on their general and reproductive health. This understanding is key to fostering their ability to make quality food choices that entirely enhance their productive health and general health. As such, the awareness will promote a change of perspective among the women, thus promoting their ability to exercise caution concerning the frequency and the amount of GMO foods they consume. The subject of GMO foods has caused greater confusion among young women on what dietary choices they should prioritize and on whether GMO foods are good for their health or not.
My empirical evidence:
While the suspected general adverse impacts of genetically modified foods on human health, including the critical implications on their reproductive health, are of concern to the women population, an accurate awareness will foster their ability to make appropriate dietary choices. Such statements as women who consume GMO foods regularly experience challenges getting pregnant due to low fertility and are likely to experience low birth weight babies, premature births, and high infant mortality due to high intoxication levels (Smith, 2011) foster a state of confusion on whether indeed GMO foods are healthy or not. A study conducted by Shen et al. (2022) established that GMO foods does not present negative health impacts on female reproductive health. Gutorova et al. (2018) found that GMO foods have both positive and negative health impacts, although the negative impacts are not well explored. Women must consider the implications of contradictory findings on the health impacts of GMO foods on their general and reproductive health to make informed consumption decisions
Why this issue is important to me personally:
Understanding the actual health effects of genetically modified foods is of great concern at an individual level. Genetically modified foods are suspected to increase the risk of cancer due to increasing the concentration of carcinogenic components in the body (Shen et al., 2022). The introduction of antibiotic-resistance genes from GMOs could lead to the development of resistance against antibiotics (Carman et al., 2013). The fear that the consumption of GMO foods is genetic changes in DNA was confirmed in a scientific study by Nawaz et al. (2019). GMO foods are also suspected to increase the toxicity levels for various body organs including the liver, pancreas, kidney, and the reproductive system (Dona & Arvanitoyannis, 2009). However, a study by Shen et al. (2022) reported no link between GMO food and negative health consequences.
Impact on my thinking:
The scientific approach fostered a clear awareness of the existing facts on GMO foods and human health and the state of current knowledge on the topic. Scientific exploration has changed my perception of GMO foods. My previous awareness, primarily based on unscientific statements, had fostered a rather negative attitude toward all GMO products. Going by the new insights, I have understood that no conclusive scientific evidence links GMO foods to negative health impacts. For example, while public opinion points to GMO foods causing cancer, infertility, and other negative reproductive issues in women, no conclusive scientific research findings provide support. Also, while a few studies report the negative impacts of GMO foods, such as stomach inflammation (Carman et al., 2013), a majority report the contrary. Moreover, realizing that many research gaps are yet to be explored has developed soft spot-on GMO products. Another important awareness is that women do not shy away from GMO foods primarily due to their health impacts, but their attitudes during the luteal phase of menstruation significantly result in a decrease in GMO food consumption (Chen et al., 2020). Regardless, I would still exercise caution in my consumption of GMO products while contributing to research and remaining receptive to new research findings on the link between GMO foods, general human health, and women’s reproductive health.