Is Genetic Engineering the Answer to Hunger?

Topics: Genetically modified food, Genetic engineering, Genetically modified organism Pages: 5 (1748 words) Published: August 15, 2010
Is Genetic Engineering the Answer to Hunger?

The controversial statement that genetic engineered food may be the solution to hunger in the world is gaining more and more interest by the media in today’s society. On the one hand, supporters of biotechnology believe that genetic engineered food ensures and sustains food security around the world as the population increases, but on the other hand, there are many concerns involved with genetically modified food. In fact, a lot of food that we eat on a daily basis contains genetically modified ingredients and usually without our knowledge. Yet, is genetic engineered food safe? Moreover, do we really need genetic modified food? Many researchers do not consider biotechnology the solution to hunger but they believe that poverty is the cause of famine in numerous countries. As a result, biotechnology raises various questions among citizens and farmers since there is the assumption that genetic engineered food is the key to eliminating global starvation (Genetically, 2010). Genetically engineered food

Before weighing the pros and cons of genetic engineered food, it is essential to understand what is genetic engineered food? “Genetic engineering is a laboratory technique used by scientists to change the DNA of living organisms” (What is genetically, 2010). Scientists have learned that there are ways of changing the structure of DNA in living organisms and build customized DNA. Genetic engineered food is most commonly used to refer to crop plants created for human or animal consumption using the latest molecular biology techniques. These plants have been modified to enhance desired traits such as increased resistance to herbicides or improved nutritional content. Traditionally, the enhancement of desired traits has been carried out through breeding, but conventional plant breeding methods can be very time consuming and are often not very accurate. Genetic engineering, on the other hand, can create plants with the exact desired trait very rapidly and with great accuracy (Whiteman, 2000). People in nowadays’ society have grown accustomed, maybe unintentionally, to genetically modified food. For example, in the U.S., “68 percent of the soybeans, 70 percent of the cotton crop, 26 percent of corn and 55 percent of canola are genetically engineered. Genetically modified products represent an estimated 60 percent of all American processed foods” (Coleman, 2005). Genetically engineered food is the answer to hunger

Also, a recent study by the National Center for Food and Agriculture found that farmers in the United States investing in biotech products harvested 5.3 billion additional pounds of crops and realized $22 billion in increased income. Most of the world’s beer and cheese is made with genetically engineered products. In addition, millions of people have been eating genetically modified food for nearly a decade without one proven case of an illness or allergic reaction. Moreover, according to supporters of genetically engineered food, biotechnology helps the environment by reducing the use of pesticides and tilling (Coleman, 2005). As a result, due to climate changes and the rapid growth of the world population, humanity is in need of exactly such an advanced technology to provide food to people; therefore, genetically modified food may be the solution to this global challenge. Most of all, genetic engineered food can play an important role in improving nutrition and agricultural products, especially in the developing countries (The Use of, 2004). The majority of developing countries in the world depend directly or indirectly on agriculture for their living which makes it essential for small farmers in these countries to become more productive. The current food insecurity level is despite agricultural productivity throughout the 20th century that lifted millions from poverty by increasing yields, improving nutrition and...

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