Population Hunger

Topics: Genetically modified food, Genetic engineering, Genetically modified organism Pages: 5 (2016 words) Published: March 10, 2009
{draw:rect} Population control has been a topic of conversation for the past 50 years. During that time many attempts to lower the global population have been attempted. Over-population is taking a toll on the environment and human health. What can we do to help solve the population problem? There is no quick fix. Right now we have a bigger problem to deal with: starvation due to over-population. According to Darwin, all organisms produce more offspring than will survive to maturity (Nadakavukaren, 2006). Biotic potential is the maximum growth rate that a population could achieve provided there are no factors to limit growth such as food shortages, overcrowding, disease, predation, and toxic waste accumulation (Nadakavukaren, 2006). Taking that into consideration, the population of the world today is far from our biotic potential. Each species has growth spurts followed by death spurts. There are self-regulating factors helping to control populations (Nadakavukaren, 2006). Industrialization brought on the demographic transition in some countries. The demographic transition is the dramatic falling of both death and birth rates. Some countries’ death rates even outnumber their birth rates (Nadakavukaren, 2006). There are people providing educational opportunities in third world countries about family planning practices, but it’s going to take awhile. There needs to be a balance between cultures, personal beliefs, race, and so-called human rights. Right now we have to focus on the global problem of over-population. One major problem with over-population is the problem with food shortages. 852 million people don’t have enough to eat every day (Asante, 2008). 25,000 lives are lost to hunger and poverty, mostly in East, Central and Southern Africa on a daily basis (Asante, 2008). In 2002, 6 million people faced starvation in Zimbabwe due to a poor crop harvest the previous two years (Asante, 2008). 2 million people die and thousands of infants lose their eyesight due to Vitamin A deficiencies. 2 billion people suffer from anemia because of the lack of iron in their diets. In developing countries, almost half the children under the age of five are iron-deficient and 20% of all deaths in childbirth are contributed to iron deficiency anemia (Asante, 2008). How can we help fix the problem of food shortages? One way is using Genetically Modified Foods (GMF). According to the World Health Organization, GMF is defined as “organisms in which the genetic material has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally…It allows selected individual genes to be transferred from one organism into another, also between non-related species” (20 Questions on genetically modified goods, 2009). GMF was first developed in the early 1980’s (Asante, 2008). By 1994, the first commercially available GMF was introduced to the marketplace. The Flavr Savr tomato was genetically engineered to keep it firm for longer (Asante, 2008). GMF’s are created by inserting genes artificially through the process of Genetic Engineering using a Gene Gun. The gene technologist uses a “cut and paste” technique transfering genes from one organism to another (Asante, 2008). Extensive testing on the transgenic plant verifies whether the inserted gene has been stably incorporated into it. It is important there are not other detrimental effects to other plant functions, product quality, or unintended impacts on the agro ecosystem. If a GMF passes these three tests, it will still not automatically be used for crop production. Instead, it is put in a multi-location and multi-year evaluation trial in green houses and field environments to ascertain the effects of the transgene. This also includes evaluating environmental effects and food safety (20 Questions on genetically modified goods, 2009). Some examples of GMF’s are corn, soybeans, cotton, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and cassava (Asante, 2009). Crops manufactured with a bacteria called Bacillus thuringiensis are among...
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