The importance of LMO
Since human population has increased dramatically, the demand for food is increasing also to fulfil the myriad population. Moreover, climate changes caused the natural disasters like flood and drought to happen more often, resulting in uncontrollable disruption to crops and livestocks. Hence, to overcome these problems, scientists come out with a solution, Living Modified Organisms (LMOs) which is also known as Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). One of the intentions of LMOs is to overcome food crisis. Genetically modified (GM) crops are designed to enhance their qualities such as longer storage, higher crops yield, ability to grow larger, and reduced cost in aspect of food production, need for herbicides and insecticides as well as higher nutritional value. Another concern is that LMOs nowadays are associated with pharmaceutical value, for example, vaccination does not need to be done via injection but we can have vaccines get into our bodies by the practice of LMOs consumption in the near future.
The statement of Lusk and Miller (2014) clearly pointed out the importance of LMOs nowadays especially in the aspect of economy, as the land for farming getting less. Consequently, food production will be lesser whereas costs of production will increase significantly. Nowadays in US, 90% of the farm land is used to plant genetic modified wheat and soybean. Indeed, economic gains in US from 1996 to 2008 were more than $50 billion (as shown in Figure 1). With the molecular engineering technology, the prices of food will be more affordable for the poverty. As stated by Chen and Tseng (2011), agricultural food prices had decreased about 2% per year from year 1961 till 1999.
Production through 1996-2008 (Peterson, 2009)
Since we know the benefit of bioengineered crops, but how exactly the bioengineered crops work to enhance yield? Take the glyphosate herbicide tolerance soybean as an example, the herbicide resistance gene is isolated from Agrobacterium tumefaciens, strain CP4, which allows the soybean to produce an enzyme 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase (EPSPS) that makes the bioengineered soybean become resistant to herbicide. Another example, insect resistance corn, had been genetically modified by insertion of a gene from bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis. The expression of this gene will produce insecticidal protein Cry1Ab, which is a toxin (Phillips, 2008). When corn borer ate the corn, Cry1Ab protein binds to specific receptor protein in the wall of the larva intestine, causes damage and eventually the larva get kill (Bessin, 2003).
LMO not only helps to solve food crisis, it also enhances the nutritional value of crop, such as the case of golden rice that rich in Vitamin A. In Asia and Africa, there are millions of children especially in the third worlds, having eye diseases like night blindness due to the lack of Vitamins A intake (Charles, 2013). Golden rice is a solution to supply vitamin A to the...