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Genetically modified crops

Uses and threats of genetically modified crops

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Genetically modified crops

  1. 1. GM Crops for long term Food and Nutritional Security Presented By: Md. Mahtab Rashid BPSAC/21/2012-2013
  2. 2. What are GM Crops?  GM crops are developed by a process of genetic modification by which selected individual genes are inserted from one organism into another (i.e. bacterial gene into cotton) to enhance desirable characteristics (‘traits’) or to suppress undesirable ones ( i.e. a tomato with reversed DNA to slow down ripening).  Genetically modified crops (GM crops) are also called as genetically engineered (GE), “transgenic” or “biotech” crops.
  3. 3. Reason to adopt GM Technology / Present scenario of India & World  According to FAO, 29% of 872.9 million undernourished people are from India.  WHO reports,  49% of world’s underweight children  34% of world’s stunted children  > 46% of world’s undernourished children are from India  53 out of 1000 children in India die due to malnutrition.  1 in 3 malnourished children in the world is an Indian (which was considered as “Nutritional Shame” by the then P.M. Dr. Manmohan Singh) .  Annually 25 lakhs Indian die due to hunger.  1 out of 7 people in the world go to the bed hungry.  Everyday 2 lakh people are added to the world food demand.  Presently, 925 million people in the world are hungry.
  4. 4.  According to the Food Security Bill, 67% of population of the country can be a challenge if the country does not adopt the feasible stand on technology matters.  India is 2nd largest producer of vegetables next to China and produce 129.08millon metric tons but still the per capita availability 120-130 grams as against 300 grams as per I.C.M.R. recommendation for an adult per day.  Pulse production in India remained static at 13+2 million tons during last 25 years, resulting in lesser quantity available to the people.  Average yield of paddy in Nile delta of Egypt, South Korea, Taiwan, etc is 8-10 tons/ha but in India it is only about 3.0 tons/ha.  India is among the world’s top five nations in cultivating GM crops according to the survey by International service for the Acquisition of Agri-Boitech Applications, an industry lobby group. Indian farmers cultivate genetically engineered Bt cotton in 11 million ha of land with an adoption rate of 95%as of 2013. But we are still there- haven’t moved an in farther scientifically. The technology is still trapped in the web woven by politics and judiciary.  U.N. estimates that the world population will cross 9 billion in 2050 and their will be major challenge to provide them nutrition, safe and affordable food while sustaining agricuture.
  5. 5. Are GM Foods safe and nutritious? 1) All GM foods have been extensively tested and they are as safe as other foods in the market place. 2) GM crops can be made into convenience and “junk” food just like organic crops and other crops! 3) Nutrition depends on the food, not the method of crop breeding
  6. 6. GM Crops and Food Security  Easing of world hunger or increased food productivity  Development of crops that can be grown in marginal soil.  Development of drought resistant crops. • currently inhospitable regions can now be cultivated  Development of salt-tolerant crops.  Development of crops that make more efficient use of nitrogen and other nutrients.  E.g. “Roundup ready” crops, and BT corn.
  7. 7. GM Crops and Nutritional Security  Reduced use of pesticides and herbicides  Development of pest resistant crops.  Reduced herbicide use is better for the environment and reduces costs for farmers.  Improved crop quality  Development of frost resistant crops.  Development of disease resistant crops.  Development of flood resistant crops.  Improved nutritional quality  Development of foods designed to meet specific nutritional goals.  GM "golden rice" is high in beta-carotene (vitamin A) Reduces eye-related problems like blindness due to malnutrition  Phytoremediation  Plants like poplar trees clean up the heavy metal soil contamination  GM plants with higher tolerance for heavy metals like mercury.
  8. 8. Future prospects of GM Crops  Future benefits might include:  food without allergens; (i.e. anyone could eat nuts)  grains, fruit & vegetables with improved nutrition (multi-vitamin potatoes=healthy fast food french fries!)  longer shelf life and better taste (reduced food waste due to spoilage)  rice enhanced with iron (prevent anemia)  foods used as vaccines (bye-bye needles)  Many more possibilities
  9. 9. Examples or Current GM Crops used 1. Bt Cotton  Bacillus thurengensis (Bt) genes that makes it resistant against bollworm.  India’s 1st cultivated transgenic. 2. Golden Rice and Bt Rice 3. Bt Brinjal 4. Flavr Savr tomato in 1994 was introduced as the first GM food. It is supposed to be“tastier, firmer and fresher” than the average tomato. 5. Bt Corn 6. Round-up Ready Crops
  10. 10. Bt Brinjal Bt Corn
  11. 11. Flavr-Savr Tomato Roundup Ready Crop
  12. 12. So, what’s the bottom line?  GM foods are as safe and there is promise for more nutritious food.  For some crops, environmental impacts are similar or less than conventional agriculture.  GM is an important tool for the plant breeder  GM technology can solve problems that can’t be solved in other ways at present.  The benefits will be spread between biotech companies, farmers and consumers.

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Uses and threats of genetically modified crops

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