Monday, November 29, 2010

Biotechnology or Genetic Engineering in Malaysia as seen through the MAHA show.

Let's watch some of the photographs which I managed to collect, not just from the MAHA 2010 show but from other sources.
Are you impressed?

How huge is the papaya, the jack fruit, the pumpkin and the star fruit! What about the chickens with no feather, just flesh so that you can just pop them into the oven or cut them up as you please on your dinner table. What about the goat which is almost as tall as a man or the black beast that you see which is neither a goat nor a horse. I didn't take a picture of the huge cows for they are already too familiar.

These genetically engineered vegetable, fruits and animals are already here in Malaysia, some of which are the product of our own scientific research endeavors in biotechnology. Even years ago we already have mangoes the size of a coconut called mangga harum manis. I did grow them once but few of the huge fruits could be enjoyed since the skin and flesh broke open while still too young to pluck and stow away to ripen.

Genetic engineering or biotechnology holds a lot of promise to become the science that will save human beings from hunger in the future with food production of fruits, vegetables, and farm animals that are huge and one unit itself can feed so many people ( like the ostrich egg). You will need only one papaya or starfruit to serve as an appetizer or dessert for maybe ten people at a dinner table. One pumpkin or a jack fruit would be able to serve a whole commumity of people.

Would that be nice?
Would it be nice to eat an apple as big as a pumpkin?
Would it be nice to eat rice with the grains as big as a groundnut seeds?

Obviously there are those who are opposed to the genetic engineering of food products and farm animals. One result that has been known is the spread of certain herbal strain that will resist weed control. It will just grow and grow and maybe overcome other herbal or vegetable growth. The effect on animal can be seen in the huge goats and cows that now exist, some with real ugly faces and appearance ( the chicken in the picture for instance). What if the transgenes in the genetically engineered vegetables and animals also affect human beings that consume them?

Genetic engineering on a human being might produce a frankenstein. I wonder what woudl happen to us if the dogs, horses, bulls, even the cats and chickens started growing to become bigger than we human beings. The age of the dynosaurs might yet return if genetic engineering is not property controlled and supervised.

These were some of the thoughts that filled up my mindght as i walked through the throngs of people visiting MAHA 2010 show ar Serdang. Other concern includes the crazy traffic jams, the great distance that you must walk without trams that can pick up people from anywhere at all in the expo area and drop them anywhere they want. The animals on display can do with a little bit of animal shows to attract the cowd and entertain the children.

As far as agricultural implements are concerned. the MAHA expo shows that only the simple and light inventions such as the oil-palm fruit cutter, the coconut husking device etc seemed to have been produced locally. The heavier machines are all produced overseas. I couldn't even find a small ride-on lawn mover which i needed very much. Only the light tilling machines are available and they are made outside the country.

The most obvious improvement made by our entrepreneurs seemed to be the packing and merchandizing of local food products. Yes the packing has certainly reached a standard suitable for overseas marketing. The variety of food products now commercialized is indeed very encouraging. You can have a free tasting of them all at the MAHA fair. Where else can you do such a thing?


kaykuala said...

Akhi Norzah,
Genetic Engineering is such a wonder . The products are monstrous individually. Planted on bigger scales it results in bigger yields. But sadly it’s only for the immediate. It is disastrous for those planted on plantations. Some African states found this to their dismay as far back as 15 years ago.
They were given maize/corn seeds to plant by some UN sponsored agricultural authorities. They were in for a surprise as their yields jumped. They were in for a bigger surprise when they held back some of their harvest to plant for the following season. These didn’t work. Someone forgot to tell them that only fresh seeds could work. New supplies of seeds should be planted. Saving some from the previous season as they had done through generations before would not work.
I hope research by now could have found ways to overcome this unless it was meant to create the confusion on purpose.

norzah said...

Genetic engineering on plants and animals had indeed gone a long way, Akhi, enhancing the volume, size and quality of products. More importantly it has been used to produce vaccines and growth stimulants that seem to work wonders. My fear. What if cows and bulls grow bigger than elephants and human beings grow to three meters and taller. The fear is that the genetically altered plants and animals will produce food which when eaten by human will also bring some changes in them - unknown changes. They may begin to look like cows. horses or fish. Nauzubillah. There are now some plants which resist all form of control and will grow on their own seemingly indestructible. What if these plants start to spread throughout the world!

abdulhalimshah said...

The line between genetic engineering on living things and GM foods seemed to be confusing to me. There is a lot of controversy on GM( Geneticall Modified ) foodstuff and I wonder it has been marketed here. The people must be forewarned of it ill-effects it any.
Personally I would welcome utilising knowledge for the benefit of all, but not all experiments could be said to be beneficial if done on a large scale. The population must be made aware of its consequences, such as whether it will endanger our planet.

norzah said...

GE I think must be the basis of producing genetically modified food products. The research is done through GE.
I fully agree with you that people must be informed about the genetically modified food, vegetable, meat and fish they buy in the supermarkets. Their effects in the long run are still unknown although a lot of research had been done before such modification was approved. Who does it in Malaysia?
Not many people seem to care. Many new diseases are attributed to H1N1, flies, mosquitoes, etc. What about the foodstuff we buy from the fast food chain and the supermarkets? Are they entirely safe. We only create a row over the Halal issue, not the health issue.