Today, GMOs are considered to be the most widely used and most productive biotechnology products whose roots come from the 1970s. After appearing on the GMO-containing food market, various layers of society began to actively discuss their security issues. Scientists and public opinion on the issue are different and uncertain.
Journalist Varduhi Zakaryan held an interview with Armen Trchounian, Head of the Chair of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Biotechnology of YSU Faculty of Biology.
- Mr. Trchounian, what factors have led to the need to use GMO?
-The problem of genetic modification is quite actual and has years of experience in the field of science. These are organisms whose genome has changed in artificial conditions, through genetic engineering. Genetically modified can be single-cell and multi-cellular organisms, microorganisms, plants, animals. Numerous studies have been carried out for research purposes in order to obtain new end-products, proteins, drugs through other sustainable organisms. Today GMO presents a number of plants that are available in our diet and receive other nutritional products. All processes are conducted under the care of experts and under strictly controlled conditions, subject to numerous expertise and analysis. As a result, many achievements have been registered. Everything has changed in the world: human diet, lifestyle, ecology, which can be very calm because of various deviations and negative changes. As a result of these changes, many illnesses have grown old. They are more important and are in need of attention. Finally, the goal of scientists is to prevent the occurrence of these diseases that lead to death or premature aging. The gene modification process is a link in that huge chain.
- What is the negative impact on the human body?
- According to prominent scientists, gene modification of various organisms is quite effective, justified and prospective, if, of course, they are carried out under strict supervision of scientists. As a scientist, I agree. Finally, scientists are facing greater and more primary goals to address the issue of increasing food volumes globally. The problem is not only in the availability of GMOs in food, but on its proper use. The genetic changes as well as the deviations in the human body can also occur under the influence of various factors, such as chemicals (fertilizers), radiation, processing and storage conditions. The US or a number of European countries spend huge amounts of money for the implementation of these processes, realizing the problem, the ways and results of the solution. Therefore, it is not right to give unequivocal evaluations. There are much more serious problems in food security today. No one, including Armenia, can claim unequivocally that the food that does not contain GMO is safer for our organism than genetically modified foodstuffs. Even products on which it is written in large letters “Do not Contain GMOs” cannot be considered safe as it is not clear what raw materials they have, how they have been processed, what conditions have been maintained, and so on. Therefore, first of all, we must solve the problem of public awareness. In fact, the reason for public anxiety is inadequate information and a lack of popular scientific knowledge. Discussion about the positive or negative impacts of GMOs can only be possible if there is a deep scientific knowledge.