Research Paper for ENGL 135
Professor Krivokuca DeVry University
April 24, 2013
Genetic Engineering, Solving World Problems
Can you imagine a four year old girl; her name is Elli, being awakened from the sounds and pains of her grumbling stomach? Her cries are answered as her mother comes in, picks her up and tries to sooth and comfort her. However, what this four year old girl needs, her mother cannot provide—food. It has been several days since their last meal. Her mother prays that she will be able to find some food today, a whole meal or just some discarded scraps out of someone’s trash bin to quill Elli’s hunger. Even if her mother does find some food to feed her, she may not be able to keep it down as she contracted Escherichia coli (E. Coli) from the polluted water she has been drinking (World Health Organization, 2013). Elli just celebrated her fourth birthday (if you can call it a celebration) as she weighed in at eighteen pounds, far below the normal weight of a four year old girl—30 pounds, according to MD-Health (2013). All her rib bones and tiny muscles are readily visible, and some say she looks like a walking skeleton that just swallowed a soccer ball. Elli’s stomach started bloating just three days ago as her body slowly dies from the lack of food. Her eyes, big as quarters, emptily stare out into the world she has known only for a short time. Soon, without food and clean drinking water, her body will shut down as she passes away. This is not a far-fetched story, but one that can be seen in every corner of this world. Millions of people die each year from starvation and polluted drinking water, but these world problems can be solved if scientists were given the green light by society to genetically engineer plants and animals. Problems
Starvation, “suffering or death caused by hunger,” as defined by Oxford dictionaries (2013) kills millions of children and adults throughout the world every year. What are the causes for the lack of food or the means to purchase food that result in 15 million deaths each year from starvation? Some of the causes are from Mother Natural herself as she brought droughts to Ethiopia, earthquakes to Haiti, and tsunamis in Indonesia just to name a few (PBS.org, 2011). These natural catastrophes wipe out the local food supply and the ability to grow crops for years. Others cite the explosion in the world population since the 1900’s when it was only 1.6 billion to the estimated 7 billion living today, according to United States Census Bureau. To put this in perspective, it took 1850 years to reach 1 billion residents, another 80 years to reach the 2 billion, and only 13 to add the latest billion individuals on this planet (2012). World population has exceeded our planet’s ability to support by five billion people, stated Robert Kunzig, the author of “Population 7 Billion”. He goes on to say that the severe pressure put onto our natural resources will soon be felt by the whole world as our resources: water, farmable land, animals, plants, oil, natural gas, and rare earth elements are rapidly depleted—starvation is just the beginning (2011). The over fishing of our rivers, lakes, and oceans has contributed to world starvations as populations of fish are taken to the brink of extinction. Furthermore, the decision to grow corn for biofuel has consumed 25 percent of U.S. grain production in 2007 (Tenenbaum, 2008). World starvation is not the only problem we face; another one is our polluted water supply. Necessary for sustaining life, how can water be the killer of millions around the world each year? The world is made up of 70 percent water (USGS 2013), however only 1 percent of that is drinkable, 67 percent is salt water and 2 percent is frozen icecaps (Aquatell, 2013). In emerging countries, 70 percent of all industrial wastes are discarded untreated into the waters,...