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Causes And Effects Of Genetic Engineering Of Animals And Plants

772 words - 4 pages

Have you ever wondered how those Thanksgiving turkeys get to be so big and plump? How about those delicious fruits and vegetables? What helps them stay so fresh even after leaving the supermarket? The answer could quite possibly be genetic engineering. Years of crossbreeding various breeds of farm animals have led to many new breeds bearing traits that they would not have otherwise. Researchers have even developed techniques that make it possible to directly alter the genes of different crops. There are causes and effects of genetic engineering in animals and plants.
With the population of Earth growing at a constant rate, food is becoming more and more scarce. While the effects of this are not as pronounced in many parts of the world, harsh environments and lack of development in some societies has made it difficult to raise animals for food purposes. While in other parts of the world, specific meat demands are ever-changing. To meet these demands, farmers must find ways to breed livestock that possess certain traits (“Origins”). There is also a growing need for food with a longer shelf life so it can last longer before going bad. Since the population is on a steady rise, there has also been a demand for animals that are capable of reaching market weight in a shorter amount of time (“Genetically”). Through crossbreeding and years of research, genetic engineering has helped find solutions for many of these problems.
While genetic engineering is normally associated with laboratories and advanced technologies, farmers usually gain desired traits from their animals through some of the more primitive forms of genetic engineering: crossbreeding and inbreeding. During the Twentieth Century, market demand became the key factor in determining what traits breeders were looking for in livestock. Demand for lard during the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries resulted in hogs that were bred to produce more fat. In the 1920s, when demand shifted towards cheaper vegetable oils, breeders began to breed hogs that produced less fat and more lean meat. It was around this same time European breeders were aiming to meet these same goals. In the 1930s, the Danish Landrace was crossbred with other American breeds, leading to several new lines that met the demand for less fat and more lean meat. These new lines were also...

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