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Environmental Case Analysis

1496 words - 6 pages

Food, pesticides, herbicides, pharmaceutical, and insect control are among the wide debate over genetically altered food sources. Genetically modified organisms (GMO) is the process of transferring genetic material of organisms into a specific plant so that the plant can carry and reproduce specific traits such as resistance to herbicides and insects that will give desired results to farmers and consumers. This paper will analyze the case of genetically modified organisms and the conflict that surrounds it when introduced to the food supply.SummaryThere are many arguments for and against the introduction of genetically modified organisms. Many biotech companies argue that genetically engineered crops could be the next green revolution. They also argue that genetically modified crops will help individuals with limited food supplies, especially those in under developed countries. Biotech companies are promising some large benefits both to consumers and to farmers using genetically modified organisms in crops. According to Sakko (2002), some benefits include:Rice with built in vitamin A that can help prevent blindness in 100 million children suffering from vitamin A deficiency. A tomato that softens more slowly, allowing it to develop longer on the vine and keep longer on the shelf. Potatoes that absorb less fat when fried, changing the ever popular French fries from junk food to a more nutritional food. Strawberry crops that can survive frost and an apple with a vaccine against a virus that causes childhood pneumonia (p. 1).While these benefits seem high, the debate is still being waged over the safety of modified crops on the population and the environment. Not only are crops being modified but also food supply such as milk and fish. Cows are being given growth hormones in order to help them produce more milk but scientists are finding that it also affects the cow’s fertility rates and lameness in the cows (Newton, Dillingham, Choly, 2006). Fish are also being given growth hormones to help them grow faster than natural born fish. These fish known as transgenic fish can escape the farms and choke out wild fish due to the competition of food. This in essence could reduce the native-born population in lakes and streams. These new fish are stronger and the native-born fish cannot compete with them. What would happen to the native-born fish if these fish were to spawn with the native-born fish, what type of fish would then be competing for the food supply.Farmers and biotech companies such as Monsanto see the benefits of modified crops. Farmers have been able to have a higher yield crop since the introduction of genetically modified organisms into crop seeds. According to Fernandez-Cornejo, Caswell, Mitchell, Golan, and Kuchler (2006),Adaptation of GE soybeans, corn, and cotton by U.S. farmers has increased most years since these varieties became commercially available in 1996. By 2005, herbicide-tolerant soybeans accounted for 87%of total U.S....

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