Genetically Modified Crops - Essay

Topics: Genetically modified food, Genetically modified organism, Genetic engineering Pages: 5 (1760 words) Published: March 14, 2013
Genetically modified crops; what are they? Crops that have been scientifically altered, to create a better species. Though crops can sometimes breed through cross-breeding, with genetically modified crops this is not the case. These crops have had pieces of DNA inserted into them to create a superior race. The reason we produce these superior species of crops are because they are often stronger, resistant to herbicides, quicker growing, and therefore cheaper to produce. That way, the community as well as the farmers benefit from the genetically modified crops. The way these GM crops are created is through the fusing of a plasmid and a new gene. This is done through extracting cells or bacteria from an already strong plant, placing them in a solution that weakens the cell wall, and removing the gene from the cell. Then, the plasmid and the new gene are warmed up, causing them to fuse. Though GM crops are a way of ‘fixing’ previous issues that were in the crops, there is a lot of opposition to them. In the EU, they are currently illegal, but there have been discussions towards allowing them in the EU, but many people see the crops as hazards to our health. So what are the pros and cons of genetically modified crops? The use of genetically modified crops can cut down the costs of producing immensely. The crops can be modified to be resistant towards certain pests, leading to the use of pesticides being cut down. The pests and weeds may be able to adapt themselves, however, and make themselves completely immune to pesticides and herbicides. This can lead to the pests and weeds being so strong, that they can cause extreme issues in the food production (ex. crops being destroyed by these powerful pests/weeds). This is a long-term effect, and would not happen over a short time, as the genes of the pests and weeds would need time to evolve into these more powerful kinds. This consequence of genetically modified crops is extremely hazardous, as if we do end up with a powerful weed or pest, we might not be able to stop it. This will lead to the pests and weeds being able to destroy entire crops, and we would not be able to stop it. However, if this method of production succeeds, the amount of food available to us will increase drastically, and food may also become cheaper due to the money saved on herbicides and pesticides. This would be an extremely good chance to make sure that the food crisis (predicted for 2013) doesn’t have a big impact. These modified crops not only have an effect on the weeds and pests around them, they also may have an effect on the organisms that eat them. There have been many studies around this kind of statement; and many theses about how dangerous these crops actually could be. One of the most famous studies about this subject is the study done by Professor Gilles-Eric Seralini, who studied the way that the GM crops may affect people and animals that eat them. Professor Seralini is the professor of molecular biology at Caen University, France, and performed a study, feeding lab rats genetically modified corn (Monsanto’s Roundup-tolerant Maize NK603) for two years. Though he came out with some extremely shocking results (there were reports of tumors, higher risk of cancer and a higher death rate), his study was waved off by the French national academies of sciences, technology, medicine, pharmacy, veterinary studies and agriculture. These academies not only spoke of his study being meaningless, but also scolded him for spreading fear and panic about the genetically modified crops. “Given the numerous gaps in methods and interpretation, the data presented in this article cannot challenge previous studies which have concluded that NK603 corn is harmless from the health point of view, as are, more generally, genetically modified plants that have been authorized for consumption by animals and humans,” –excerpt from the statement that came from the academy, justifying their choice to disregard Gilles’ study....
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