Genetically Modified Food Essay

790 words - 3 pages

DNA technology of the 21st century is rapidly changing and evolving with new technologies emerging all the time. This article will examine the methods and issues surrounding Genetically Modified Food. Genetically modified food is crops that have been altered using genetic engineering, biotechnology and gene technology. Farmers select the best crops possible to suit their needs and genetic engineering allows this to happen. For example, when you cross breed two plants you may end up with one desirable trait and a trait you do not want. These genes are often linked and genetic engineering allows one of these traits to be isolated and reproduced. These crops have been modified to enhance desired traits such as an improved nutritional content and increased resistance to herbicides (Genetically Modified Foods: Harmful or Helpful? D, Whitam). Examples of plants which have been modified include: soybean, corn, canola, squash, potato, chicory, pineapple and strawberries. Ninety eight percent of GM crops are grown in Canada, the USA, Argentina and China.

There are many advantages that come with the use of Genetically Modified Food. Firstly, is the increased crop resistance to pests while reducing the use of chemicals. Crop loss due to this issue is devastating to farmers and farmers generally have to use tons of chemical pesticides each year. By growing crops such as the B.t corn (see Appendix) this eliminates the application of pesticides and reduces the cost of bringing a crop to the market. This same idea is applied to the use of herbicides. Cold tolerance is another benefit to GM foods as cold frosts are dangerous to sensitive seedlings. An antifreeze gene has been taken from a cold water fish has been introduced into tobacco and potatoes and as a result, these plants are able to withstand cold temperatures that unmodified seedlings would die in. Similarly, developing plants that can endure long periods of drought or high salinity would be beneficial as the world population grows; more land is used for housing instead of farming. Therefore, crops would be able to survive in previously inhospitable environments. Another major advantage to GM foods is the prospect of increased nutritional yields in crops. Genetic engineering can be used to amplify the nutrients found in foods. Advanced research has found that in GM golden rice which is a white rice crop with the vitamin A gene from a daffodil plant introduced to it. This changes the colour and vitamin levels. This could be extremely beneficial to third world countries were...

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