This Friday, I went home for the afternoon so I could get my annual check-up at my doctor’s office. As part of the evaluation, I was asked about my diet and the different types of foods I choose to eat regularly. When I started to list off some food products, I was reminded of this blog and my research on GMOs. Although I didn’t intend to interview my doctor, Amanda Kelley, I ended up asking her a few questions about her opinion on genetic modification.
Dr. Kelley described how she has never had a patient who has had a medical problem directly related to the consumption of genetically modified foods. She recommends genetically modified food products to patients but emphasizes the importance of eating foods from all six food groups. Dr. Kelley frequently advises patients to buy rice and cereals that have been genetically modified to contain iron.
Dr. Kelley also recommended looking into the medical implications of genetic modification. Inspired by my doctor, I went home and did some research. I discovered that genetically modified microbes and animals have revolutionized the production of pharmaceuticals. The newest hepatitis B vaccines, for instance, are produced using genetically modified baker’s yeast. Similarly, insulin is produced in genetically modified bacteria.
Thanks to my trip to the doctor, I now better understand why genetic modification has gained approval in the medical field. As we continue to advance technologically, we have found unique ways to use genetic modification in medicine and experimentation. While I am opposed to the research on animals for our benefit, I see why using GMOs in health-related fields makes sense. If GMOs are already being used to remedy illnesses, they could potentially be used to cure future strains of fatal diseases.
Amanda Kelley, in-person interview, Beverly, MA 15 November 2013
Encyclopaedia Britannica. 2013 Genetically Modified Organisms. Electronic Document, <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/897705/genetically-modified-organism>, accessed November 22, 2013.