Genetically Modified Organisms: The European Union vs. The United States
"By increasing the fertility of the land, it increases its abundance. The improvements of agriculture too introduce many sorts of vegetable foods, which, requiring less land and not more labor than corn, come cheaply to the market."
-Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations
The United States and the European Union are currently in dispute over the trade of genetically modified organisms. These altered plants produce more fruit per acre than traditional methods of farming while protecting the species from insects, environmental changes, and mutations. The output coupled with the benefits of environmental protection yield better products at a cheaper price for consumers. Adam Smith would favor the technologies of genetic modification because the fertility of the land increases, as well as its abundance. This growth results in more agricultural products on the market that require less land for cultivation, and no increase in labor. The consumer is then presented with a cheaper price because there eliminates the need to incur great labor costs and, at times, crop protection inputs such as pesticides. The European Union should allow these products to enter their market freely, to provide the maximum gain to EU consumers.
What is a GMO?
GMO stands for a ‘genetically modified organism’. A GMO is artificially developed by scientists to produce specific results such as sustain life through a drought or produce a greater quantity of fruit per plant (Monsanto Corporation:1999). This practice began centuries ago when plants and animals were selectively bred and microorganisms were used to make beer and wine. Through traditional crossing methods, scientists like Mendel have transferred genes from one individual to another with the aim of producing offspring with desirable traits.
Biotechnology in agriculture is a collection of scientific techniques used to improve or modify plants and microorganisms. Simplistic examples of biotechnology are employing yeast, molds, and bacteria to create fermented foods such as milk and cheese, or crossbreeding plants in hope of improving agriculture. The benefits of biotechnology in agriculture increased over the past few decades after scientists discovered that DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is interchangeable among plants, animals and other organisms, alike. This allows scientists to invent new products through both crossbreeding and a transfer of genes. Nearly any desirable trait found in nature can be transferred to a select organism. This process of transferring DNA from one to another is referred to as genetic engineering (The United States Mission to the European Union:1999).
The genetic code is universal. Related species share a large number of genes, and on that assessment, GMOs were created. By incorporating genes from an alternate plant species, an...