The Help of GM Crops
Norman Borlaug was one of the most influential individuals that no one has ever heard of. His genetic research in Mexico, India, and Pakistan led to the creation of disease resistant, high-yield crops that saved more lives from starvation than the number of those lost in both world wars combined. His pioneering work earned him a Nobel prize in 1970 along with the title, “The Man Who Saved a Billion Lives” (Wilson). Scientists have since expanded his research into the field of microbiology know as Genetic Engineering (GE). Unfortunately, when the public now hears the term genetically engineered, they do not picture Norman Borlaug or the prevention of starvation; instead, images are dredged up of secret laboratories, needles and harmful chemicals. As the world’s population continues to grow and millions of lives hang in the balance, it is more important than ever that we separate the propaganda from the evidence and begin a rational discourse on this subject. While genetically modified organisms may pose potential environmental dangers, the extensive and thorough body of research on the subject currently reveals no evidence to support the widespread fear of genetically modified food. In simple terms, genetic engineering is the process of changing select genes of an organism using molecular biology techniques. Typically, researchers isolate and analyze specific sections of the strings of genes found in an organism's DNA to determine the function each part performs. Genes will then be removed or added into a plant’s DNA in order to make them more nutritious, less susceptible to disease and less vulnerable to pests, resulting in GM crops that do not require as much insecticide use as traditional farming (Nayar). Compared to traditional methods of breeding plants, which can cause tens of thousands of genes to change in unpredictable ways, genetic engineering allows for precise and controlled changes to be made (Morin). For example, the gene...
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