Genetically Engineered Food Essay

928 words - 4 pages

Biotech companies are continually trying to create foods that are perfect in every aspect; a more productive plant, foods that are healthier and can reduce cholesterol, foods that taste better, and foods that have defenses against insects. What most people don't realize is that the perfect foods may not be so perfect in the long run. Genetically modified crops are those crops which have had genes from unrelated sources transferred into their genetic sequence. Genetically modified crops are a hot topic in the scientific world today, both for their potential benefits and their potential drawbacks. Genetic modification changes the genes and thereby the characteristics of the subject. You can, for example, genetically modify strawberries so that they stay fresh longer, and rice can be genetically modified so that it has higher vitamin A content. When a scientist genetically modifies a plant, they insert a foreign gene in the plant's own genes. For example, this might be a gene from a bacterium resistant to pesticide. The result is that the plant receives the characteristics held within the genetic code. Consequently, the genetically modified plant also becomes able to withstand pesticides. The consequences of releasing transgenic crop plants into the environment may have an impact on the environment in a number of different ways. Genetic modification has the potential to create plants that can tolerate colder or warmer, drier or wetter conditions. This means that plants, such as food crops, can be grown in a wider range of countries than presently. A major advantage of genetic modified crops is that it has provided resistance to crop pests. Farmers no longer need to worry as much about the pests that eat their crops and that more food will then be more readily available. Genetic modified plants that are resistant to pests or diseases will not need the large amounts of chemical currently used to control pests and weeds. Improved growth characteristics will produce better crops without the need for large quantities of fertilizer. Thus, genetic modification provides resistance to crop pests to improve production and reduce chemical pesticide usage, thereby making major improvements in both food quality and nutrition. Genetic modification is a new technology and has potential to improve the quality of crop products. For example, Golden Rice is genetically modified rice that now contains a large amount of vitamin A. The rice can be considered a particular advantage to poor people in underdeveloped countries. This is due to the fact that they eat only an extremely limited diet lacking in the essential vitamins in their body. The consequence of this restricted diet causes many people to die or become blind. This is particularly true in areas of Asia, where most of the population live on rice from morning to evening. But provided with the genetic modified crops, people in the poorer countries no longer need to suffer the consequences of the...

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