English 1A TTh/8:00
21 March 2013
Mini RP 1.3
We’re Not Your Lab Rats
Up until the 1980s’ people had to resort traditional methods of farming to improve their harvest, such as: breeding, using pesticides, and changing irrigation and/ or planting techniques. However since the 1980s’ scientist have been breaking biological boundaries with a technology called genetic modification. Genetic modification creates genetically modified organisms (GMO). According to Dr. Arne Holst-Jensen, “GMO is a living organism whose genetic composition has been altered by means of gene technology”. That means a piece of DNA and/or synthetic combination of smaller pieces of DNA are placed into the genome of organism being modified. GMOs have been used for pest control and disease resistance, to increase yield of crops, and to add extra nutritional value to food. Some are even manufactured to create their own antibiotics. Indeed genetic modification is a pyridine shift; however, GM (genetically modified) products should go back to the lab and stay there until the results show us that they are completely safe and helpful. GMOs are thought to be helping farmers; however, GMOs are creating their own worst enemy. Farmers are always looking for ways to rid pests and weeds from
destroying their crops; when GMOs came on the market what better way to conquer those invaders while saving money by not spending on herbicides and pesticides. According to “Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs): Food Security or Threat to Food Safety” by S.J. Khan et al., the 2003 insect epidemic in North Carolina and Georgia were linked to the bioengineered plants. Bioengineers can try to create an organism that will help/improve an aspect of life except sometimes they fail to analyze all effects of the DNA being put into the organism. Not until after the negative effects occur do the scientists/companies retest their “Frankenstein” plants, “lab test indicate that common plant pest…will evolve into Superpest” (S.J. Khan et al.), growing immune to GMOs (S.J. Khan et al.). Due to insects rapid reproduction cycle they are able to mutate and evolve at exponential rates, growing resistance with each set of offspring. Along with the threat of a “Superpest” the genetically engineered plants are also creating “Superweeds”. Results have shown that genetically modified bacillus thuringiensis endotoxin remains in the soil for at least 18 months (S.J. Khan et al.), these Bt endotoxins “can be transported to wild plants creating Superweeds” (S.J. Khan et al.). The “Superweeds” then become a rift in the farms ecosystem due to their newly gained resistance to insects. These “Superweeds” are then free to disrupt the soil and steal vital water from the crops being grown. One study showed “20 times more genetic leakage with GM plants” (S.J. Khan et al.), in other words a drastic increase in the exchange of genes to other species. Assuming that GMOs are supposed to eliminate invasive plants and crop destroying insects, GMOs should not be giving those organisms resistance. Despite the fact that some GMOs kill Robles 3
invasive organisms the fix is only temporary, people will get hit harder and harder due to the fact that GMOs also help invasive organism evolve and counter the toxins. GMOs’ wrath of terror does not just end at the farm they are being used at; GMOs raid all surrounding environment. In Oregon scientist found GM bacterium meant to breakdown “Green-waste” into compost however the GMO actually made the soil sterile. The GM bacterium was found to be killing “essential soil nutrients, robbing the soil of nitrogen” (S.J. Khan et al.), and killing fungi vital the rich soil make up. This process could have been achieved properly if this GM wasn’t introduced. Professor Guenther Stotzky of New York University conducted research showing toxins being released by the root of GM plants creating soil pollution...