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Pros and cons of biotechnology
 

Pros and cons of biotechnology

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    Pros and cons of biotechnology Pros and cons of biotechnology Presentation Transcript

    • Industry, government, and many university scientists tout the benefits of genetically modified foods for agriculture, ecosystems, human health, and feeding a rapidly growing world population. With equal passion, consumer groups, environmental activists, religious organizations, and some scientists warn of unforeseen health, environmental, and socioeconomic consequences.
    • Based on what you presently know, do you think we should raise genetically modified crops?
    • What if you heard GM seeds have improved lives?
    • Since 2006, the FDA has required all food manufacturers to list the amount of trans fats on nutrition labels. Since then, California and New York City have banned trans fats in restaurants. Other cities and states are now considering similar bans.
    • Vistive low-linolenic soybeans, a biotech variety, have been on the market since 2005. • Lower level of linolenic acid • More stable soybean oil • Need for hydrogenation virtually eliminated • Fried foods, baked goods, and snack products produced with lower or even zero grams trans fat
    • “KFC is one of the restaurants using Vistive exclusively in their chicken frying. Wings from WingStreet are fried in Vistive oil. A&W root beer stands use it, as do Keebler cookies. There are over 150 food companies in the U.S. using Vistive oil in the products you eat today.”
    • Now, do you think we should raise genetically modified crops?
    • What if you heard GM technology could produce new allergens?
    • Some people, including children, are highly allergic to peanuts and other foods.
    • Critics feel the possibility exists that genetically modified food crops may unintentionally introduce a new allergen.
    • Now, do you think we should raise genetically modified crops?
    • Now, do you think we should raise genetically modified crops?
    • What if you heard GM technology could hurt small farms?
    • Patented GM crops will make small farmers indentured to big agribusiness firms because farmers must purchase new seed every year and cannot save the seed from the previous growing season.
    • Patented GM crops might prove too expensive for poor farmers in developing countries.
    • The USDA’s Economic Research Service explains, “Intellectual property rights in agriculture…are frequently used to protect technological advances. These rights allow their owners to exclude competitors from ‘making, using, offering for sale, or selling’ an invention for a limited period of time. As the pace of scientific discovery in agricultural biotechnology has accelerated over the past few decades, the use of patents and other intellectual property rights to protect these discoveries has increased tremendously.”
    • Now, do you think we should raise genetically modified crops?
    • What if you heard GM technology has improved lives?
    • For Indian cotton farmers, biotech seeds have improved farming practices, income and life. “I bought a truck, tractor, built a house, and dug a well. Before we would use an ox cart. I am more enthusiastic about farming. It’s worth it now.”
    • Two major studies underwritten by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India show the profound impact that increased yields from biotech cotton seeds have on farmers, their families, and their villages.
    • Since 2003, more than 500,000 acres in the Philippines have been planted with biotech corn seeds and new traits are coming to market. The positive effects are substantial for biotech farmers’ families. “With better incomes, corn farmers are not only able to send their children to school, their overall standard of living has also improved.”
    • Now, do you think we should raise genetically modified crops?
    • What if you heard GM technology can conserve water?
    • Agriculture uses two-thirds of the world’s freshwater. Each year severe droughts affect local production and food prices.
    • Today, with the latest in biotechnology and improved production methods farmers can grow a ton of corn with 30 percent less energy, less water and less pesticides than at any time in history.
    • Now, do you think we should raise genetically modified crops?
    • What if you heard GM technology is more susceptible to attack?
    • Just fifteen food crops today supply 90 percent of the world’s food and energy intake.
    • GM crops will further our reliance on vast monocultures. Farmers of monocultures are vulnerable to lethal attacks by disease and pests. In the 1970s corn blight devastated the U.S. corn crop; in 1975 Indonesian farmers lost half a million acres of rice to the rice hopper insect. GM monocultures will possess similar susceptibilities. If pests evolve tolerance to a crop’s built-in insecticide, or if weeds develop immunity to weed killers sprayed over fields of herbicide-resistant GM plants, that crop—and the people who count on it—could suffer.
    • Now, do you think we should raise genetically modified crops?
    • What if you heard GM technology is vetted by your government?
    • • Evaluated by the EPA for environmental safety • Evaluated by the USDA on whether the plant is safe to grow • Evaluated by the FDA on whether the plant is safe to eat
    • The EPA examines each activity on a case-by-case basis to ensure that no harm will be caused to human health or the environment. The EPA regulates the environmental and animal feed aspects of ‘live’ GMOs under the GMO Regulations.
    • The FDA has been studying genetic modification techniques for drug-biologic development, as well as the development of new foods. The FDA has carefully developed policies to accommodate the changing and evolving world of biotechnology. The evidence shows that these new products meet the same safety standards as traditional foods.
    • Now, do you think we should raise genetically modified crops?
    • What if you heard other countries are doing it?
    • “Without a quality seed it is not possible to achieve development objectives in agriculture.” —Mamadou Traore, Ministry of Agriculture, Uganda He added that the best solution to improve the quality of seed is to allow researchers to conduct experiments including GM seeds. He believed that biotechnology is already being used to solve important agricultural problems such as drought and excessive use of pesticides and fertilizers. Uganda now has a Biotechnology Research and Development Agenda 2010 to guide policy makers in strategy formulation for implementing priorities in biotechnology.
    • In Egypt, farmers expressed their satisfaction with biotech maize, noting that they benefited more than from using conventional varieties. Consumers showed their interest about the applications of biotechnology. They expressed their concern for popularized information so as to better understand the technology.
    • Colombia’s Ministry of Social Protection in late 2009 approved the importation of three GM events of maize and two of cotton.
    • CTNBio, the Brazilian Biosafety Technical Commission, has given the greenlight to an herbicide-resistant GM soybean variety jointly developed by the Brazilian Agricultural Research Cooperation (Embrapa) and BASF. CTNBio says that the GM soybean meets the standards and the biosafety law for the environment and agriculture, as well as human and animal health.
    • In a globally-conducted farming poll: 37% of farmers say they are amenable to new technologies, and genetic modification was by far the most popular of the five presented key factors. Farmers voted for education and training at 20%, investment in research and development (18%), removal of trade barriers (15%), and government intervention in food production (10%)
    • Now, do you think we should raise genetically modified crops?
    • What if you heard GM technology could feed the world?
    • By 2050, say United Nations’ experts, our planet must double food production to feed an anticipated population of 9.3 billion people— 40 percent higher than today’s 6.6 billion. Factor in a pressured water supply, an energy- supply crunch and climate change. How do we surmount these obstacles?
    • Now, do you think we should raise genetically modified crops?