Having knowledge of the structure of the DNA gave biologists insight into the processes of DNA translation and transcription. Scientists were able to understand how genes interacted with the environment and how they could be isolated from the DNA strand. This allowed scientists to manipulate genes and change the characteristics of organisms. Recent breakthroughs in science and the process of how genes code for proteins have enabled scientists to even create organisms. Genetically modified crops are a creation of genetic engineering and the processes of gene manipulation.
Crops were selected that had the desired features and their genes were manipulated and isolated to make crops with the desired qualities. These crops were called genetically modified, transgenic or genetically engineered crops. hence the phase genetically modified (GM) refers to that breed of crops that has been altered through genetic engineering (Forman 8).
Genetically modified crops are aimed to provide commercial and social advantages (Silberglitt 22). The golden rice contains high levels of beta-carotene that is not present in rice and so allows animals to make vitamin A.
In countries like Bangladesh, rice is the staple diet, and so many people and children face severe deficiency of vitamin A, suffering from blindness and high mortality. Genetic engineers predict that the growth and consumption of golden rice in Asian countries can counter the stark conditions of malnutrition, mortality and blindness that is common in these areas. Although the traits of crops are changed to make them more resistant, concerns over the safety of the crops have risen dramatically over time and has fueled heated debates in the Europe, and to a lesser extent, in the US.
In a nutshell, the basis for such debates is that transgenic organisms are a new breed, and can be likened to tampering with nature.