Essay on Genetically Modified Crops

Submitted By sagar_291
Words: 1590
Pages: 7

Sagar Sawant
J. Stapp
Essay 2
Genetically Modified Foods: Useful or Dangerous? Every living organism on this planet has genes, they are considered as the blue print of the organism. Recently we have seen a rise in genetic engineering; modifying the DNA sequence of a living organism by insertion of new genes. This allows scientists to single out the desirable characteristics of an organism and insert them into another organism, thus making the latter a superior of its kind. Over the past thirty years or so genetic modification of crops has under gone a major revolution. In the early days, a farmer wanting to develop a frost free tomato would look for necessary genes in tomatoes or some near relative of tomatoes, but the advancements in the field of genetic engineering has taken away these restrictions. Genes from another species like an arctic fish, in the case of the tomato, are used to make a completely different species. It has the basic traits of a tomato and the frost-free attribute of the fish. This sounds very interesting, as there are endless possibilities as to how an organism can be altered, for example, this method can be used to enhance the yield of a crop, or make it resistant to pests, or increase the nutrition content of that crop. These are called genetically modified crops or GM foods. Every day we see more and more GM foods appear on the shelves of our stores. These foods are designed to have more resistance to viruses, high nutrition value, and longer shelf life. All of this sounds great and promising, however, the safety of these crops, potential risks, and moral concerns are still being debated. So, should genetically modified crops be banned or not? Closer examination on this subject reveals, that the disadvantages of this process are far greater than the advantages they claim to have. These man made crops or foods have had a very bad impact on heath, and environment. Public interest groups and European environmental organizations aggressively object to the use of GM foods. An article by Tom Wright in the NY times tells us how Swiss voters supported a five year ban, in November 2005, on genetically engineered crops. Highlighting problems facing the European commission and biotech companies like Syngenta, Bayer and Monsanto as they try to overcome consumer doubts about safety. In Switzerland, who is not a member of the EU, farmers are currently not involved in growing any kinds of genetically modified crops. Around 55.7 percent of people who voted agreed on the ban of GM foods. The US has led the production and consumption of genetically modified crops; European consumers have been largely hostile to them. The European Commission banned the import of G.M. foods, from the United States from 1998 to 2004. While many other governments, which include Spain, Britain, and the Netherlands, say that Europe has many appropriate guidelines and rules in place, these nations oppose further testing of GM foods, before allowing widespread cultivation of genetically modified crops. The commission has pushed ahead with approving new G.M. foods despite the doubts about safety expressed by some European governments. This just shows us how some countries are still willing to use GM foods, despite their many risks. May be it’s just an excuse for big corporations to make money, whatever be the reason, something should be done to control this situation. Amy Harmon in the NY Times tell us about another such recent event, where we see public rebellion against GM foods, in an article. In August 2013 around, four hundred protesters smashed down the high fences in the Bicol region of Philippines and uprooted the genetically modified rice plants growing inside. This kind of rice is called the “Golden Rice”; it had a distinct yellow tint in the otherwise white part of the grain. This is because the rice has a gene from corn, and another for of bacterium, which allows it to create beta-carotene, which is a source