Investigating into Some of the Latest GMOs

In anthropology lab, we discussed the concept of a “grapple” or an apple genetically modified to taste like a grape. As a class, we were challenged to determine if a grapple would be considered food to most Americans. Surprisingly, I was one of few students who believed a grapple is in fact, an American food.

I was hoping I could taste a grapple to see for myself if grapples taste like “food” but was disappointed to find that grapples are not sold in local grocery stores. For my own entertainment, I researched further into different types of new and interesting genetically modified food products and tried to determine how they make sense.

The Grapple: A cross between an apple and a grape.

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Why it makes sense: The grapple was designed to provide a higher vitamin-C dose per fruit for third world aid. Most of the funding for the fruit came from UNICEF.

The Rubber Cork Tree: a cross between a rubber tree and a cork tree.

Cork-Tree-Image

Why it makes sense:  Wine industries love rubber cork trees.  Bark taken from this tree looks like real cork but has the permanence and flavorlessness of rubber.

The Paper Tree: A tree that is genetically modified to have leaves with a similar texture and look as paper.

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Why it makes sense: The tree grows square leaves that, when dried, can be used as writing paper. This is an environmentally friendly way of producing sheets of paper.

Though wacky, some of these new genetically modified organisms are proving beneficial to society.  Paper trees, for instance, allow for fewer trees to be cut down and transformed into paper. The grapple is not only unique tasting, but also more nutritional than the typical apple. Science is finding crazy, new ways to use genetic modification for societal good.

Frater, Jamie. 2008 Top 10 Bizarre Genetically Modified Organisms. http://listverse.com/2008/04/01/top-10-bizarre-genetically-modified-organisms/, accessed November 22, 2013

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3 Responses to Investigating into Some of the Latest GMOs

  1. Patrick says:

    I am one of the few people who believes that GMOs are actually beneficial to society; often I am ridiculed for my views. I have always believed that the advancement in technology is just us not only being human but also as members of our ecological society. I believe people will agree with whatever they hear if it is saying that it is bad for humans. For instance, people always say that the ice caps melting will lead to the sea levels rising. I find this very funny because when I fill up a cup with ice and water, the cup doesn’t overflow when the ice melts. The sea levels are rising from snow melting off of mountains, not the ice caps. When people say the ice caps are melting and the sea levels are rising as a result, I have a hard time trusting anything else they say.

    I think the environmental movement is just a fad in our society. Most people hop on the environmental bandwagon but a lot of these people are highly opinionated and uninformed. It makes sense that if someone told you your earth was being destroyed you would try to stop it. But how many people are actually doing anything about this issue? People are driving electric cars and being praised for this. Electric cars don’t emit greenhouse gasses, how wonderful! Well, how does the electricity get made? In the United States, electricity is primarily generated by burning coal or oil. Again, I believe the biggest issue is that people simply are uninformed and ignorant about environmental issues. I really enjoyed seeing some positive light about topics that generally gets raked across the coals.

  2. zinsliemily says:

    The use of GMO’s is something that interest me because there is such a controversy revolving around the topic. Genetically modified foods has been a controversial topic because there are benefits, doubts about the health risks, and the questions about humane ways to treat animals. In our class, Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, we learned about cultural relativism. When learning about different cultures, or in this case the use and spread of GMO’s in America and other countries, you have to step away from your own judgments when looking at another practice and see why the other practices make sense. You have to ask “why does this make sense to them and why wouldn’t it make sense to someone who is opposed?”
    In your blogs I believe that you touched upon cultural relativism quite a lot. You were able to describe why the use of GMO’s make sense in different aspects even though you are apposed to the use of GMO’s. In your previous blogs you had touched upon cultural relativism by discussing how genetically modified food was useful because some foreign places the spread of GMO’s provides food where it is limited because it is able to yield high percent’s of food. You discussed that it made sense in other cultures because the GMO’s made sense because they provided use to a very specific job in this blog.
    You touched upon cultural relativism when you showed both sides of the heath controversy that surrounds genetically modified food. When discussing the study done in the documentary called “Seeds of Death” you were able to show the negative effects that many believe come with the use of GMO’s. Then you were able to set aside that controversy by speaking to a doctor who gave some of the benefits of eating genetically modified foods in ones diet.
    You also were able to cover cultural relativism because you discussed the political aspect behind the controversy. In your quote by Richard Schiffman, “the problem with genetically modified foods is not that they are genetically modified; it is that they have been designed to become cogs in the machine of this destructive system. It is the system that needs to change, not the seeds.” You touched upon how we make GMOs, how we distribute and use them and how we promote them in our culture. Cultural relativism plays a part that is deeply rooted into our culture and the foods that we eat and you displayed this and how other cultures approach it in your blogs.
    Overall, your blogs thus far were able to fit the requirements when discussing cultural relativism.

  3. holmesthom says:

    Sarah, I’ve enjoyed reading your blog recently. I think you bring up some great points about the benefits of GMOs (though grapples are still gross). This isn’t in the part of the requirements, but I think it was really impressive that in your blog you seem to have answered the question of why GMOs are almost taboo in some cases. You did this by separating the scientific practice from the political issues. Suddenly it’s a lot more understandable of a practice without the big food corporation tags attached. This actually made understand the practice a lot more personally, as someone who’s unsure about GMOs you persuaded me to look further into the scientific practice and it’s benefits.

    You do a good job of incorporating the subject into your own everyday life. Whether that’s the posts that mirror what we were learning in anthropology at the time, or the whole post about the check-up turned interview with your doctor. The everyday connections make it really easy to see the methods you used to come to an understanding of GMOs.

    I would love to see some articles about your own initial misgivings. While you address these misgivings in your articles intrinsically, it would be nice to see some direct discussion of these as they might help to further what I think is such an important part of your blog, which is the associated fears that come with GMOs as well as what we as a populace label as GMOs opposed to everything that is a GMO(there are plenty of GMOs that are considered ‘okay’ in the US by most of the populace that don’t seem to be labeled as GMOs because they are either older creations or aren’t seen as threatening).

    You have a tough job when it comes to your cultural site because it is the United States and your populace isn’t incredibly easy to identify as there is both a political and practical element to your populace. Unlike a lot of groups where there at least a simplistic way to categorize who supports and who is against GMOs the fact is in your case people might politically oppose them but at the same time are going to have an impossible time not eating anything that contains GMOs. I think you’ve done a good job addressing this issue in your blog.

    As far as the requirements go I think you have done a very good job covering them. It seems you have consistently hit all of the requirements with your pieces.

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