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Trouble On The Table
Some people find genetically altered superfoods hard to swallow
What do you get when you cross a chicken with an apple? A flower with rice? These aren’t jokes! Believe it or not, combinations like these may make their way to your dinner table. There’s a new world of agriculture that has some people excited about new superfoods. Others are very nervous.
For thousands of years, farmers improved their crops by patiently crossing plants that have good traits. They were able to produce bigger or sweeter fruits, for example, but this process could take a decade. Now, thanks to advances in gene science, “You can make changes more precisely in a much shorter period of time”, says John Mount, professor of agriculture at the University of Tennessee.
Here’s how it works. First, scientists isolate the gene that controls a desirable characteristic of a plant or an animal. Then, this gene is put into the cell of another living thing that will acquire new traits. For instance, scientists can produce a tomato that resists the cold if they insert a protein from an Arctic fish in a tomato plant’s genetic code.
According to optimistic scientists, the new technique can create crops that resist pests, diseases and can be more nutritious. Maybe it would be a way for poor countries to face famine. However, not everybody is convinced that it is a good idea. Many people say that genetically modified food may harm the environment and humans. It could happen because plants with new genes can accidentally crossbreed with wild plants and create pesticide-resistant superweeds. They also say GM foods could carry genes that cause allergy to humans.
As the battle goes on, we will probably continue to see GM foods on our tables. However, while this new technology is still in debate, we should be informed about the food we’re eating so that we can make a choice. - Adaptado de Ufrj.br
2. Responda as perguntas.
A. What do people think of genetically altered superfoods?
B. How do scientists obtain GM foods?
C. What can this new technique make possible?
D. What are the risks of genetically modified foods?
E. What do you think about GM foods?