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The Benefits Of Genetically Modified Crops

1865 words - 7 pages

For the last several decades, the world has been plagued by widespread starvation and poverty. Economies are failing in numerous countries, and developing nations struggle to feed their inhabitants. As a result of the world’s mounting overpopulation, food has become scarce and resources are rapidly dwindling. However, modern science has provided a solution: agricultural biotechnology. Genetically engineered crops represent the bright future of agriculture. Crops like cotton, corn, and soybeans can have genes inserted or deleted into their cell membranes; this modification facilitates pest and virus resistance, drought tolerance, and even provides nutritional enhancement. Genetically altered crops produce much higher yields than organic harvests while concurrently preserving the environment. This increased production not only increases profit for farmers, but also reduces costs for consumers too. These crops were first introduced in the early 1990s, and, despite disapproval from some European countries, have rapidly spread to many nations within the last 15 years. In a world where starvation is rampant and economies are deteriorating, genetically modified crops (known as “GM crops”) offer a proven and viable solution to world hunger while simultaneously increasing the GDP of nations and improving human health.
Recognizing the benefits of GM crops, developing countries throughout the world are following in America’s footsteps and integrating biotechnology into their agricultural practices. The benefits of GM crops far outweigh any of the associated potential risks. Advantages include: lower pesticide and herbicide use (reducing costs for farmers and preserving the environment), pest and virus resistance, climate tolerance, nutritional enhancement, and larger yields. Conversely, possible risks include allergenicity to humans and insect resistance. However, these risks are purely speculative: 81 separate studies costing approximately $65 million have been conducted by the European Commission alone and have shown no evidence of any risk linked to GM foods (1). Indeed, the U.S. has concluded that the risk of GM crops is minimal. As a result, in the U.S., genetically altered crops accounted for 93% of planted soybeans and cotton and 86% of corn in 2009. (2). Considering the success and benefits of GM crops in America, developing countries have followed suit. In 2009, India planted 84,000 square kilometers of genetically modified cotton, and Brazil planted 214,000 square kilometers of GM soybeans, a 26% increase from the year before (3). Like the U.S., these countries conducted a risk-benefit analysis and concluded that the economic, health, and food surplus benefits of GM crops offset the unproven risks (4). Thus, agricultural biotechnology is being implemented in farming techniques throughout the world.
One of the biggest advantages of agricultural biotechnology lies in its economic efficiency. GM crops are...

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