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What is Genetically Modified organisms? Definition of Genetically Modified Crops (GMOs) Before I go more in depth about the pros and cons of genetically modified crops, let me first give a definition of what genetically modified crops are. Genetically modified crops (often abbreviated as GMOs) are simply crops, whose genetical material has been modified. There are two ways to do this: Traditional selection and breeding (much like breeding animals), Modern, scientific modification of the crops. A genetically modified organism (GMO) or genetically engineered organism (GEO) is an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. These techniques, generally known as recombinant DNA technology, use DNA molecules from different sources, which are combined into one molecule to create a new set of genes. This DNA is then transferred into an organism, giving it modified or novel genes. Transgenic organisms, a subset of GMOs, are organisms which have inserted DNA that originated in a different species.
Insights of GMO’s Risks Benefits Chemical Resistance Some plants are susceptible to being overrun or choked out by weeds that compete for the same nutrients. Another benefit of GMOs is the potential to increase the chemical resistance of food crops, allowing herbicides to be used that will harm any weeds, while leaving the desirable crop relatively unaffected. This, in turn, can increase crop yields. Environmental Impacts The creation of GMOs can lead to negative environmental impacts which might not be foreseeable when the GMO is created. For instance, an alteration to a certain plant might make it inedible or harmful to another organism such as an insect that relies on it for food. In some cases this can be a benefit, to protect the plant against pests, but it may also be a drawback if it harms organisms that are desirable or upsets the balance of the food chain. According to the Human Genome Project Information website, GMOs can result in unintended transfer of genes through cross-pollination, leading to unknown effects on other organisms.
Risks Benefits Insect and Disease Resistance One of the most important benefits of GMOs is their potential for adding to the healthiness and natural resistances of organisms. GMOs can potentially be created that have greater resistance to insect infestation and plant diseases. For instance, a certain strain of corn might produce a large amount of food tonnage, but be susceptible to insects, while another might repel the insects but produce a low amount of raw food tonnage. If the insect resistance of the lower yield plant were combined with the higher yield plant, a new GMO could be made that provides a large amount of food and resistance to insects. Another benefit of increased plant resistance is that it has the potential to reduce the amount of chemicals used on plants to protect against insects and disease, which can reduce pollution introduces to the environment. Health Another danger of GMOs is their potential to harm human health. Altering the genetic makeup of an organism could potentially introduce new allergenic properties to it. Some plants, such as peanuts, have powerful allergens that can kill humans. If a gene of a peanut were used to enhance a more common food crop, such as corn, it might introduce a similar allergen which could have a severe health impact.
Risks Benefits Nutrients GMOs are especially important for developing countries where simple nutrition is of utmost concern. GMOs provide a potential for increasing the nutritional value of plants. For example, a region might rely heavily on a certain crop such as rice or corn, which may not have all the various vitamins and minerals necessary for proper nutrition. A plant that normally offers little or no vitamin A might be combined with the genes of another plant that is high in vitamin A. GMOs can introduce new sources of essential nutrients which can fight health problems caused by nutrient deficiencies. Economics Since GMOs have the potential to replace standard crops, the companies that produce them and the farmers who are able to use them stand to profit greatly. This could reduce the amount of competition between farmers and give the companies that create GMOs great power in the agricultural industry. Companies may even try to patent the genetic code of GMOs that they produce. This could create situations where a corporation essentially owns exclusive rights to produce and sell a certain organism. Technologically advanced countries would likely benefit the most economically from increasing GMO production. The Human Genome Project Information website states that GMOs may lead to increasing dependence on industrialized nations by developing countries.
Benefits Risks Profitability The benefits of GMOs can have an additional affect of increasing the profitability of farming. Having plants that are better able to resist various maladies can increase crop yields while reducing the amount of money spent on efforts to protect the plants. According to Monsanto.com, farmers made an additional $10 billion in 2007 from planting GMOs, which is due to increased yields and reduced production costs. Ethics Critics of GMOs sometimes make arguments against genetic engineering on ethical grounds. For instance, some people feel it is unnatural or wrong to introduce the genes of animals into plants or from one plant to another, which may be likened to "playing God." In addition, animals used in genetic engineering procedures may be subjected to pain and stress.
Conclusion: Proponents of GM crops claim that advantages may be many, such as : improved storage and nutritional quality, pest and disease resistance, selective herbicide tolerance, tolerance of water, temperature and saline extremes improved animal welfare higher yields and quality. However, until further studies can show that GM foods and crops do not pose serious threats to human health or the world’s ecosystems. Living organisms are complex and tampering with their genes may have unintended effects. It is in our common interest to support concerned scientists and organizations, such as Friends of the Earth who demand “mandatory labeling of these food products, independent testing for safety and environmental impacts, and liability for harm to be assumed by biotech companies.” We must give way the success of our world by the use of our advanced science & technology & that is by using a genetically modified products.