Genetically Engineered Food and Product Preservation in Modern World

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Genetic engineering is referring to a special technology that enables scientists to alter the genetic makeup of all living organisms such as plants, animals, and/or bacteria. Other terms used to refer to genetic engineering includes: (1) gene technology. (2)genetic modification. (3) biotechnology. (4) transgenic. (Human Genome Project Information, 2007) This technology includes food modification techniques such as cloning, tissue culture, and market-assisted breeding. (World Health Organization, 2005)Individuals with common food allergies have a higher risk of suffering from food allergens caused by genetically modified foods as compared to individuals with no food allergies. (Gaivoronskaia Hvinden, 2006) Even though most of the real causes of food allergens and food intolerance remain unclear, the study of Gaivoronskaia Hvinden (2006) suggests the possibility of using gene technology in removing specific food allergens from genetically modified food products in order to protect those individuals with food allergies or food intolerance.For example (1) genetic engineering makes it possible to remove the α-lactalbumin gene in order to minimize the lactose content in milk (Bauman et al., 2006. World Health Organization, 2005). (2) the same technology can be used in reducing the levels of cyanide content in cassava roots. (3) the natural levels of glycoalkaloid toxin which is found in potatoes can be reduced by adding some invertase gene from yeast into genetically engineered potatoes (World Health Organization, 2005). and (4) the allergenic protein which is commonly found in rice or the allergenicity in wheat can be reduced by modification of its biosynthetic pathway (PIFB, 2001. Buchanan et al., 1997).