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Are Genetically Modified Foods Harmful Or Beneficial?

2127 words - 9 pages

The rapidly growing demand for food will require further increases in crop production. Two aspects are viewed: feeding the world by genetically modified (GM) crops versus organic agriculture. Although genetically modified foods have been on supermarket shelves for years, there is still extensive controversy about whether they are beneficial to the general public. The genetically modified food controversy is a dispute over the use of foods derived from genetically modified (GM) crops instead of traditional and indigenous crops (organic farming). In the opinions of critics, they are of the view that genetically modified foods are the reason for world hunger, and that they are considered not ...view middle of the document...

Given that, farming alone is not an efficient means of resolving this concern. As mentioned, farmers occupy a small portion of the world population. For this reason, genetically modified crops are promoted as a way of solving world hunger. As Monsanto (agricultural biotechnology corporation) advertised, Biotechnology is one of tomorrow’s tools in our hands today. Slowing its acceptance is a luxury our hungry world cannot afford. Indeed, agriculture is the primary source of food; however, modern agriculture is in general a burden on the environment, resulting in contamination of drinking water, soil degradation, erosion, and reducing biodiversity (Frison, 2011). Genetically modified crops, on the other hand, possess many benefits. The graph below shows some of the benefits of genetically modified crops.

The objective of this review paper is to inform the general public why we should accelerate the acceptance of genetically modified foods. Genetically modified foods are beneficial because they have the potential to solve many of the world’s hunger and malnutrition problems, and to help protect and preserve the environment by increasing crop yields and reducing crops reliance on chemical pesticides and herbicides.
2. Genetically Modified Crops: A Long Lasting Solution to Hunger and Malnutrition Problems
According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, genetically modified crops can be defined as crops derived from genetically modified organisms that have specific changes introduced in their DNA to acquire a desired trait. With new technological advances, scientists can modify seeds to possess desirable traits such as resistance to dryness, cold, heat and so forth. This is possible with the implementation of new genes into the DNA of the traditional seed. The diagram below shows the way food becomes genetically altered.

The main advantage of GM food crops is their potential promise of future food security. The main arguments of GM supporters are safe food security, improved food quality, and extended shelf-life as the reasons why they believe in GM crops which will benefit not only both consumers and farmers, but also the environment (Wisniewski, 2002). Genetic engineering can create plants with the exact desired trait very rapidly and with great accuracy. For example, plant geneticists can isolate a gene responsible for drought tolerance and insert that gene into a different plant. The new genetically-modified plant will gain drought tolerance. Creating plants that can withstand long periods of drought or high salt content in soil and groundwater will initiate growth in formerly inhospitable places.
Geneticists, using biotechnology tools, are able to build plants with qualities evolution could never produce. However, this is not a simple process. Behind every single seed is at least a decade of research involving geneticists, engineers and farmers, working to produce a seed that will grow exactly as expected, and in a way nature may not have...

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