Aces 101 Assigmnet 3 edited.docx - gmosandwhytherenotsogood

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12 Δεκ 2012 (πριν από 4 χρόνια και 8 μήνες)

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Alex Tebbe, Alonso Ledesma, Sunny Kato, Jenny Mleczko, and Jack Plunk

Section AD1

Assignment 3

GMO Crops: The Risk


GMO is an acronym that stands for genetically modified organisms.
The term is used when

scientist take
an organism’s DNA and modifies it
to have
certain desirable characteristics
. The traits can
vary from

the

resistance against certain pests or pesticides, increasing

nutritional value,

or

altering size
and

color. The process of taking specific genes from one plant and transferring them into

another plant
is not
a
natural
phenomenon
and requires
the need of
human assistance and technology.
In 2009, it was
estimated that 14 million farmers planted 330 million acres with genetically modified crops (GMO
Compass).
Evidently, GMOs are
covering mor
e than ha
lf of the earth’s farmable land. Around 90% of the
substantial population of people that consume these products

either do not know what exactly they

are
consuming or know very little about genetically engineer crops (
Pattron
).

It is crucial

for pe
ople to
become aware and informed of what they are
eating

and the possible

consequences. These
consequences include the

long term
dangerous
effects GMO’s could have on the
environment, native
organisms and

plants, and, most important
ly
, the human populatio
n. The inhabitants of this earth need
to stop genetically engineering crops before the long term effects wreak havoc for future generations.


Some say GMO’s could be beneficial to society for several reasons. For example,

scientists

have
developed crops t
hat are resistant to herbicides and pesticides. Widely known examples of chemically
resistant seeds are “Round Up Ready” seeds and Bt
-
corn . These
seeds, when

planted
, can give the
farmers

the ability to spray preventative chemicals

like herbicides and pes
ticides immedia
tely after the
crop is planted, which normally would kill the crop.
Another benefit of using genetically engineered
crops is that scientist
s

can develop crops that can withstand certain weather conditions. In turn, farmers
in different parts

of the world ca
n grow a wide variety of plants that normally would not be able to
survive in those parts of the world because of the climate. Genetic engineering could also help

crops to
sustain productivity in extreme or abnormal conditions where the cro
p is normally grown. All these
benefits lower cost for the farmers and increase productivity.


However, these are all just possibilities. With future consequences still unknown, crossing the
biological barrier and messing with the genetic makeup of an orga
nism can result in a disaster. There
are
still too
many downfalls of growing and consuming GMO crops.
One big downfall is in the process
-

genes

can end up in unexpected places, mutate with harmful effects, or turn off previously suppressed genes.
This woul
d lead to mysterious genes and traits being turned on that are not supposed to be, which could
lead to unwanted and extremely risky effects.
For example, weeds and certain pests that have negative
effects on crops can also become resistant to chemicals t
ha
t were once used to kill them
-

which would
lead to the use of even more harmful and stronger chemicals to combat the effects.

GMOs also can
cause wide ranged damage to the environment. The new organisms can sterilize soil of nitrogen and
other valuable nut
rients important for growing crops, or they can release harmful toxins
in the soil.
Along with damaging
soils, the increase of GMO’s has increased the use of chemicals on crops leading to
contamination of waterways and
the poisoning

of other
animals and

plants in the food web. For
example,

in Britain, a native farm bird, the Skylark, was indirectly affected by the introduction of GM sugar
beets designed to resist herbicides. In planting this crop, the weeds were reduced substantially. However,
since the
birds rely on the seeds of this weed in autumn and winter, researchers expect that up to 80% of
the Skylark population would have to find other means of finding food
, leading to the possibility of
starvation if not enough food could be found

(
Sakko
)
.

Genet
ic

Engineering is fundamentally diff
erent
from traditional methods, counter to the argument that the manipulation of genes has been around for
millennium through the use of natural selection and isolation to an advantage.
Now instead

of just
farmers growin
g crops, using the naturally better species and seeds to better their production,
scientists
are developing new plants and organisms

through penetrating genetic manipulation
.

The downfall is
when scientists
make mistakes and mutate a plant the effects are
permanent and cannot be reversed
-

the genetic genotype has already been created
.

Another
demise

of using GMOs is the insufficient
research. Since genetically engineering
crops is relatively new and new methods keep emerging,
scientist have not been given

enough time to research or predict the long term effects
these crops
would have on humans and other organisms
. Many scientist
s

already found that ce
rtain crops
consumed can cause different types of

disease
s

in humans, resistance to certain antibiotics, a
nd transfer
of allergenic genes
-

and these are only the semi
-
controlled effects that emerged right away (
Weighing
the GMO arguments: against
). This does not include uncontrolled and unpredicted risks that go along
with the geneti
c manipulation and the introduction to the environment, along with the interactions of
genetically manipulated organisms with natural born, native ones.



So before big time companies go out and start playing with genetics and crossing biological
barriers
, serious consequences must be taken into consideration. Without enough research GM crops
can lead to hazardous consequences that may lead to disastrous effects in on the environment, human
life, and native organisms. Only after extensive research and long

term experimentation could bring
about the possibility of safe GM crop usage. Even then, the future can never be fully predicted. For now,
there are too many “I don’t knows” when it comes to the genetic modification of crops.
Genetically
engineered crops
could change the world drastically
-

problems may be solved or tragic disasters may
emerge. So, is it worth the risk?