Harninder Purewal Bio 188 Professor Baad
The Evolutionary Impact of Genetically Modified Organisms on Animals
Genetically modified organisms have been present for the past 20 years, and the influence they are having on animals is beginning to present us with data that show the effects on their health. GMOs are very cost effective and can be produced at a rapid rate therefore becoming more common in our nations food source. There are nine crops that are currently being commercialized and sold to the American consumers. They are soy, in which 89 percent of soy crops is genetically modified, cotton at 83 percent, canola at 75 percent, corn at 60 percent,
Hawaiian papaya at 50 percent, alfalfa, zucchini, and yellow squash. (Smith, 258). But there are more GMOs that are not in production in the United States but still are in the food we consume, such as dairy products, meat, eggs, honey, and many more. (Smith, 258). These genetically modified organisms have been causing unfavorable effects on animals. Genetically modified organisms are created by splicing out specific genes of different species and are recombined through genetic engineering conducted in a lab environment. The interaction with the activity of the existing genes and biochemical pathways of plants may lead to disruption of metabolism and the development of new toxins. This is directly shifting the evolution of specific plants and foods by altering their natural form. I hypothesize that these altered forms that are consumed by
animals will cause an increased risk of diseases and other health complications which will inevitably lead to death and extinction.
Effects of ingesting genetically modified corn and soy are becoming more evident as the years go by and further research is being conducted. But as of now majority of the research and testing being done is conducted on animals and presents on numerous accounts the negative effects GMOs are having on the health of these animals. Studies and research has been conducted focusing on the effects of GMOs and the alterations its causes to animal hematology.
DuPont Haskell Laboratory, conducted a thirteen week feeding study with transgenic maize grain line 1507 and observed the effects it had on rats. When they looked at the hematology of rats fed with the GM corn 1507 and its relative the nearisogenic maize grain, in the female rats the ones that had the diet with the GM corn had a lower red blood cell and hemoglobin count than those rats which were fed the nongenetically modified corn. Also in another study done by
Gilleseric Seralini and colleagues, doing a similar study as Dupont’s, but using the genetically modified maize Mon 863, they noticed it affected the reticulocyte amount found in the animal
(immature red blood cells) and changes in the chemistry of the blood, as opposed to the rats that were on a diet without GM corn. These two studies clearly present a problem with genetically modified food and how it creates hematologic complications by not producing enough blood and disrupting the original and natural form of the chemistry of the blood. Therefore leading to complications that may provoke death of the animals. Genetically modified food not only affects the initial species it interacts with but also has an impact on the progeny of the species.
Dohoo and colleagues began a study to investigate the effects of injecting growth hormones into animals and understanding what complications arise. For their study they focused
on dairy cattle and looked at the recombinant bovine growth hormones (RBGH) effects. Not only did they find out that cows injected with the RBGH have a 55 percent higher rate of attaining lameness, and increased risk of clinical mastitis by 25 percent, adding to the fact that it affects reproductive health and ultimately leads to the cow failing to conceive (Dohoo et. al, 2003).
Table II presents summary estimates