‘Genetic Chile’ explores GMOs in pepper industry

Russell R. Silva
Staff Writer

Professor of Biology Jay Jones presented “Genetic Chile,” a documentary by Christopher Dudley where scientists and genetic engineers look at genetically modified foods through the eyes of the farmers from New Mexico protecting their iconic chile pepper.

The presentation was part of the “In Context” series, where Jones shows videos about the progression of science and the effects it has on the world Fridays in LaFetra Auditorium.

New Mexico is well known for its food products and its use of the chile pepper. Dishes are consistently made from the green pepper and it is known to be a sacred plant to many cultures.

“You can transform bacterium into the plants and it will migrate throughout the plant,” Jones said.

In the recent decade, scientists are having to inject genes into the chile pepper plant to protect it from the harsh environment. To avoid further damages, New Mexico has invested in research of a genetically modified organism. This is the first time that officials from New Mexico have placed public funds toward a specific crop in hopes of sustaining it.

Evidence of damages to the chile is shown due to environmental hazards killing off the plants or causing bacteria to prevent proper growth, international corporation sales and natural gene flow. International markets have started to ban product of genetic mutation. The chile industry has been known to supply jobs to a vast majority of the population, and has since died by two thirds.

“I think the movie highlighted the implications that continued development of GMOs will have in the future on human and animal health,” said sophomore liberal arts major Sara Fleischer.

Since starting the research, spectators have had a hard time getting information about the engineering being done. In “Genetic Chile” researchers from New Mexico State University were interviewed. It brings to the light of the harmful uses of GMOs. With genetic drift, modified genes have made their way into natural plants.

“There’s a lot of pollution drift and it’s hard to say what is genetically modified,” said sophomore biology major Sondos Badran.

The documentary show ideas of what genetically modified foods do to withstand the harsh environment. It is hard for engineers to prevent bacteria from killing off plants.

There has not been a long term study to suggest that GMOs are bad for individual consumption. A 90 day watch has been done to see the effects GMOs have, but documentary interviews stated that it is not enough. To do full long scale research would cost $1 million a year. The Food and Drug Administration has yet to rule out GMOs being produced.

Opposers of GMOs are hoping the public will start to support the local farmers and the cops they produced to the surrounding cities.

“Buy local, go organic or grow your own food,” Jones said.

Russell R. Silva can be reached at russell.silva@laverne.edu.

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