What genetic engineering brings

ECOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF GMO USE

If GMOs are released into the natural environment, the use of these products raises concerns because of the effects they may have on the ecosystem and on the gene resources of developing countries. The effects of GMOs on the ecosystem, It is considered from two perspectives: potential and perceived effects.

Risk of gene escape from GMOs to the environment

Although the long-term environmental effects of the aforementioned products are not fully known, there is a possibility of gene escape from the mentioned products to the environment by means of artificial gene transfer and hybridization (hybridization) if they are released into the environment. This situation, on the other hand, brings various potential risks depending on the risk of uncontrolled spread of the changed genetic characteristics to the environment (Kaya and Tolun, 2000).
From GMOs to other products the risks of gene escape; It is envisaged that organisms lose their genetic specificity over time, the emergence of resistant weeds and insects in the long term, the inevitable increase in the use of pesticides, and the disappearance of balances between populations due to the deterioration of species sociology.

Increasing wildness and emergence of super-wild species

The genes transferred to agricultural plants in order to provide resistance against weeds, agricultural pests such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, insects and chemical pesticides used to combat such agricultural pests, transition to wild species through events such as gene escape, artificial gene transfer, and uncontrolled hybridization; increase in wildness, the development of super-wild species and the reappearance of old pests.

weakening of resilience in plants

There is a danger that the resistance of the aforementioned plants will disappear over time, as the resistance properties of the cultivated plants, which have been made resistant to pesticides and agricultural pests, are transferred to other organisms and these plants lose their genetic specificity over time. It is thought that this process may cause an increase in product cost and multidimensional ecological destruction due to the increase in herbicide and pesticide consumption.

Damage to non-target species and beneficial insect species

Among the prominent risks of GMOs are the possibility of poisoning beneficial organisms such as butterflies and insects that feed on herbicide-resistant plants containing the “Bt” (Bacillus thuringiensis) toxin, and other non-target organisms.

risk of genetic contamination

The contamination of the gene pool of a population by foreign (exotic) genes that do not belong to that population through genetic migration or gene transfer is defined as genetic contamination (Işık, 1999: 143). It is thought that the adaptation abilities of organisms may disappear over time as a result of the contamination of the gene pools, depending on the gene transfer from the plants to the receiving environment.

Risks that may arise from the gene structures of organisms

Demonstrating the complex and dynamic features of genome structures of organisms with the developments in genetics, and observing the movement of gene structure in the form of “genomic stress” due to the contamination of a foreign gene (Keeton and Gould, 1999) give some clues about the effects of gene transfer between unrelated species on the genome. . In this context, it is stated that some viruses can infect the whole environment by taking the changed features in the genomes of their hosts, thus causing irreparable environmental destruction (Kaya and Tolun, 2002).

Risks of gene transfer from GMOs to soil and aquatic ecosystem

Understanding that the pollen of gene-transferred plants spreads over a wide area to the natural environment and the genes of these organisms are transmitted to the receiving environment in various ways, brings the risk of the spread and accumulation of the changed traits depending on the gene exchange processes between organisms and the food chain. In particular, the fact that microorganisms can easily acquire modified properties and transmit them to other organisms in the soil and water ecosystem shows the extent of the mentioned threat. On the other hand, it seems inevitable that the use of herbicides and pesticides will increase if the characteristics of the genetically transmitted plants that have become resistant to pesticides and agricultural pests are transferred to other organisms, especially pests and wild species.

Effects on human and animal health

The risks that GMOs and GMO products may pose on human and animal health raise the issue of “food safety”. In the last 10 years, some health cases that have arisen during the consumption of GMO products have drawn the attention of the world public to this issue and the reliability of these products has become a topic of current discussion.

Effects on biodiversity

When the above-mentioned risk types that may be caused by the use of gene-transferred plants are considered in general, it can be said that the whole biodiversity may be under threat. As a result, there is the danger of extinction of varieties that emerged in a long time depending on the evolutionary process and deterioration of ecological balances. The way in which agricultural biotechnology is applied is considered as another threat that may increase the risks of these crops. In this framework, the cultivation and trade of gene-transferred products according to market conditions in line with the interests of multinational pharmaceutical companies may result in a uniformization of gene resources by decreasing local varieties over time. The patenting of seeds of transgenic plants developed by biotechnology companies may force the producers to prefer the same type of products, which may lead to the danger of loss of local varieties over time (Kaya and Tolun, 2002).

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