Possible Health Hazards from Genetically Engineered Crops
The paradox of Genetic Engineering of crops is evident from the unending revolution in the seeding and growth of new multibillion naira industries while it also poses the greatest hazards to life on the planet Earth. Recombination DNA technology is used to insert, delete, transpose and substitute new genes in plants that can lead to introduction of improved
varieties, such as size, quantity, quality, taste, herbicide and pesticide resistance and many other traits. New proteins are produced or eliminated to give rise to these new resistant phenotypes. The new gene products may serve as allergens capable of inducing illness that can result n death of its consumers. Also new genes are often introduced in the engineering
process to enhance the selection of cells containing the desired product. Antibiotic resistance genes are often used to enable the selection of bacteria harbouring the desired gene, a technique which is thought to contribute o increasing resistance of bacteria to most well established antibiotics such as penicillin, ampicillin, tetracycline and numerous others. Also, the effect if the viral vector used in gene transfers on the environment, crops and individual consumers are not known. The assessments of the genetic engineering of crops indicate the need to substitute alternative steps in the gene selection process. It also exposes the hazards in the consumption of genetically engineered crops to humans, animals and insects as well as the environment, while genetic engineering of crops remain a useful tool in mass industrial production of various gene products which has led to increased job creation in society, the need for an active regulatory guide by the United Nation Organization and within NAFDAC has become necessary to safeguard the human population, the environment and life in general.
Keywords: Health hazards, Genetically engineered crops