Are GMOS Detrimental to Health & Reproduction?
How much do you know about the food you consume?
Sure, you might be an avid reader of food labels or an all-organic shopper. You may prioritize buying meats with no antibiotics or may not even eat meat at all. Perhaps you opt for the farmers’ market over your local grocery store.
However, an internal element of your food is harder to track: GMOs, or genetically modified organisms. What are they, exactly, and what do they mean for your health and wellness?
Simply put, GMOs are “altered with DNA from another organism, be it a bacterium, plant, virus or animal,” as Live Science explains. This ability allows geneticists to breed genetically modified foods, often resulting in a higher yield and production, such as tomatoes that are resistant to frost, potatoes that are more difficult to bruise, etc.
While the potential benefits from GMOs seem promising, there are still plenty of risks and unknown factors that warrant consideration when planning your eating habits.
Let’s take a look at a few of them to help you make the best decision possible when buying your food.
Seed Monopoly – Who Controls the GMOs
You may already know, when it comes to control over the seed supply, there are a couple of big players, one of which is Monsanto, which controls 80 percent of the GM corn market, and 93 percent of the GM soy market.
Couple that with the fact that behemoth companies such as Monsanto enjoy high levels of freedom when it comes to their activities, and it is certainly reason for concern.
As researchers on the topic report, 94 percent of our seed varieties have disappeared over the last century, leaving the remains to a handful of global corporations such as Monsanto, which is also known for its stringent control over farmers’ abilities to save seeds produced after harvest for re-planting as well as lawsuits against farmers whose non-Monsanto seeds are contaminated by the company’s GMOs.
Some even speculate that, while there is a de facto worldwide moratorium on terminator technology, or “seeds are genetically engineered to make them sterile and unusable for replanting,” companies like Monsanto may already be trying to make them a reality, further tethering a farmer’s ability to grow crops to their patronage of the company.
This wide-reaching control of the available seeds means it is already difficult, and likely to become harder for consumers to avoid purchasing GM products.
Is GMO Food Safe? Potential Health Risks
The monopolization of the seed industry through GMOs is not only a worldwide economic concern, but also a health one.
Due in part to their relatively recent inception, as well as a lack of substantial independent testing, much is not known about the possible side effects of long-term consumption of genetically modified foods.
Among the possible health effects some worry are connected to genetically modified foods are digestive issues, endocrine disruption, and possibly even gene altering.
The rise of instances of gluten intolerance and other similar digestive disorders have some pointing to GMOs as a possible environmental cause of the shift. While wheat is not a GMO, other GM crops have been engineered to withstand the weed killer called Roundup, whose active ingredient is glyphosate.
Analysis of related research suggests such components of GMOs may exacerbate or initiate gluten-related disorders, perhaps most specifically intestinal permeability, or “leaky gut.” This could be attributed to the hole-punching toxin used in GM corn, which kills insects by poking holes in their stomachs.
However, digestive issues aren’t the only possible impact of GMOs on the body. There may also be cause for concern when it comes to their potential effects on the endocrine system.
The rise in GM glyphosate-tolerant crops has caused concern among scientists, who call for a closer look at the direct effects of glyphosate-based herbicides (GBHs) to determine “whether the effects of GBHs are due to endocrine disrupting activities.”
This further investigation is especially crucial, given that endocrine disruption can account for increased obesity, liver disease, fertility issues, prostate cancer, and thyroid diseases among other issues.
While concrete proof of the direct link between GMOs and some health effects has not surfaced, major organizations such as the American Cancer Society caution that “the lack of proof of harm is not the same as proof of safety,” and endorse the continued assessment of GMOs to be sure of their genuine safety.
What Can You Do?
When it comes to GMOs in your life, it really comes down to education. Depending on the political decisions of the state or country you live in, there may be differing rules and regulations regarding whether or not GMOs must be labeled.
While there continues to be plenty of debate about the controversial topic, the fact of the matter is that genetically modified foods are already on the shelves of our supermarkets, and in the foods we eat at restaurants and friends’ houses. Although many have endorsed the continued study and analysis of the long-term effects of GMOs on humans, its availability has outpaced the policy around it.
Resources about the issue are also choppy and somewhat lacking. That means the burden of research and decision-making falls into your hands. Find out more about the effects of GMOs to make an informed decision about whether or not you will consume them.
Luckily, there are some places out there than can help you to recognize and avoid GMOs by learning which products most commonly include GMOs and how to keep a look out for them. In addition, eating locally farmed food, shopping at local co-ops and grocery stores, and looking out for non-GMO verified products on store shelves are all great ways to limit your intake of GMO foods.
Biotech Company To Send Woman to Space to Birth First E.T. Baby
There’s a long list of activities expecting mothers are typically told to avoid and often they’re pretty mundane; prolonged physical activity, amusement park rides, and getting a tattoo. Not included on this list – because any sane human would consider it to be pretty much implied – is space flight. But now a biotech company called SpaceLife Origin, wants one lucky lady to cast those overly cautious maternal instincts aside and take a trip into the exosphere, so she can give birth to the first (technically) extraterrestrial child.
SpaceLife Origin is founded on the premise that humans are getting close to colonizing other planets and that Earth is becoming an increasingly hostile environment, due to climate change and other unnamed threats. Accordingly, its founders set up a series of missions that involve launching the precursors of life into space over the next few years, and eventually launching a pregnant woman into space to give birth by 2024.
Their first launch, planned for 2020 and titled Mission Ark, is being marketed as mankind’s ultimate insurance policy, offering individuals the ability to store their “Seeds-of-Life” in a satellite hovering in low-earth orbit for the next several decades. Those with the means to afford it can buy themselves piece of mind, knowing their potential progeny will be stored safely off-planet, impervious to any anthropogenic or natural disasters down here amongst us plebeians.
Their second project, set to launch in 2021 and titled Mission Lotus, involves the first attempt to conceive a human being in space – though not by traditional means. Human egg and sperm cells will be launched up to a space station, where they will be used to artificially create an embryo that will mature for a few days, before being returned to Earth, where gestation will continue inside the mother. Nine months later, she will give birth to the first child conceived off planet.
Finally, Mission Cradle hopes to enact the first birth of a human being in space, technically creating the first “extraterrestrial” baby ever. But how would they get a pregnant woman into space without the G-forces, radiation, and other extreme conditions affecting her unborn child? And what about the trip back? All great questions.
SpaceLife says it’s possible though, and that it’s necessary for us to learn the technical aspects of this process if we ever want to colonize distant planets.
“It’s a small step for a baby, but a giant baby-step for mankind,” said Dr. Egbert Edelbroek, SpaceLife Origins Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer.
It’s hard to tell if the company has achieved the necessary funding, partnerships with space agencies, or humans willing to donate their seeds, but if we had to guess, the latter part of that equation is likely the easiest box to check.
SpaceLife’s website includes a promotional video that shows the evolution of mankind’s achievements in a quick montage of stock images, followed by a video of Elon Musk speaking at a SpaceX event. It’s unclear whether the company is actually in talks with Musk, but it’s obvious they’re at least trying to give him a nudge to recognize their lofty plan.
Unsurprisingly, the tentative space nation Asgardia, has expressed its support of SpaceLife’s plan, as it too, hopes to pioneer a number of firsts in space, including a space station that would support an entire nation. But as idealistic and romantic as this all sounds, it always leads one to wonder whether these futurists have the interests of the people in mind, or whether they’re only considering the upper echelon of society.
For more on the potential existence of an elite plan to covertly colonize our solar system, watch this episode of Deep Space: