Threats to the ecosystem by the introduction of Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) into nature
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are living organisms whose genome is altered through genetic engineering to attain a new trait. The genetic material of the organism can be manipulated through many scientific methods like recombinant technologies and reproductive cloning for the production of species with new traits or desired biological products. The GMO possess genes from different species like human, plant, virus, etc which cant be seen in nature or through conventional crossbreeding techniques.
In genetic engineering, the primary step is the identification and isolation of the gene of interest. Then the desired gene is inserted into the new genome using a vector (a sequence of DNA molecules used to carry foreign genetic material from one cell to another where it is autonomously replicated e.g. plasmid, lambda phages, etc). Subsequently, the newly modified organism is grown and replicated. . Even though GMOs have many roles in the field of agriculture, medicine, and environmental management, it has many adverse effects too. It may affect adversely in several ways:
Competition with natural species
The GMOs with the trait of faster growth can compete with the wild species. As a result, they invade into new habitat and cause ecological imbalance. Gradually the number of native species gets reduced and destroys species diversity.GM escape can cause a high mortality rate in the wild population hence leads to species extinction.
Management of waste disposal
The waste parts from GM fish are very harmful if they are eaten by land or sea creature, it can cause health contamination. By the rules and regulations, the waste parts should be incinerated but it is rarely enforced due to the high cost for incineration.GM fish waste cant is included in the feeds of livestock as the omnivores won’t eat fish. So for the betterment of the living organisms and the environment, incineration is the best way for the disposal of GM fish waste.
The wild type or the sexually compatible species get interbred with GMOs resulting in the gene flow into the wild population. The new character expressed after interbreeding may change the original traits of the wild ones, hence affects the ecological relationships and behavior.
The adverse effect caused by GMOs on the environment is almost impossible to eliminate, even though the most risk by the GMOs are identical to that of the naturally bred ones, yet we can’t say that GMOs are completely safe and beneficial.GMOs should undergo several screening tests with extreme care to ensure more safety to the environment and living organisms.
The mice fed with GM products were subjected to experiments to know the impacts of GM products. As the mice reproduce rapidly, it is easy to identify the impacts on the later generations. The offspring produced was sicker, smaller, and even somewhere sterile. The internal organ such as heart, kidney, adrenal gland, liver, etc of the mice was affected. Through this experiment, we could say that equivalent effects will happen to the human being by consuming GM fishes.
The development in the field of GMOs is inevitable while regarding the immensely growing population of the world. The GM fish can meet the protein diet of the consumers but the preciseness and fidelity in this technology need to improve for more public acceptance.GMOs can contribute a lot to the human society and it will be an asset to the coming generations. However, the technique must take some safety measures like usage of sterile fish for production, avoiding DNA of viral origin, etc. It’s for sure that the GMOs will become a bigger milestone in scientific history.
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