Genetic Engineering is the Future
The debate over genetic engineering has emerged as one of the hot topics of today's political mainstream. With new discoveries happening everyday, science is coming closer to achieving perfection in the art of genetic manipulation. But is it all worth it? Some people argue that genetic engineering is a corporate scandal, and simply allows large companies to make more money. I will show through my research that the benefits of gene alteration far outweigh the claimed consequences.
The actual process of gene transfer is very complicated. The first companies to employ genetically altered products emerged only 40 years ago. With fast developing technology, researchers are able to examine entire stands of DNA. What scientists discovered is a three step process that is involved in the transfer of Genes. First, RNA becomes synthesized in the DNA, and the genetic code of the organism is inscribed. This is called transformation. Next the RNA is introduced to a new cell, called transduction. (Welsh, pg. 43) The first successful cell transfer was in bacteria. Once RNA was induced there was a conjugal transfer of the DNA between bacteria cells. (Welsh, pg. 45) The host bacteria adopted the same traits of the mother DNA cell. What scientists realized is that this process can be manipulated.
Once sequences of DNA were analyzed there was an explosion of knowledge that was gained. Scientists unlocked the genes that were responsible for hundreds of different functions in plants and animals. In the agricultural industry, there is always a demand for better products. Strands of DNA in seeds have been researched greatly. What basically happens is science perfects hybridization. ("Food and Environment", Online) They are able to control the physical qualities that are desired, and create a seed that is optimal for any condition. Through gene isolation scientists can increase not only the size of seeds and crops, but also change different aspects of the plant. In dry climates, the plants can be altered to have deeper roots. (Cowell, Online) But it goes beyond simple physical enhancements. By removing the genes that caused reactions to pesticides, farmers were able to use bug sprays and not sacrifice any crops. Scientists can also even alter plants to have a less attractive odor for insects. They developed an "antibiotic resistance" to insects by synthesizing an antixenotic resistance mechanism in the wheat midge of a seed. (Berzonsky, pg. 238) This causes bugs to be repelled by the plant through its odor. This translates to less spread of disease, and less loss of crops. What is even more amazing is that DNA alteration has been successfully used not only in plants, but in animals as well.
But for arguments sake, I must present the other side of the situation. Many claim that using DNA to change food and animals is not right. People question the morality of the issue, and also the integrity. The idea of...