Benefits of genetically modified crops
Did you know that up to 70% of the processed foods at your local grocery store contain at least one ingredient that has been genetically altered? (Balko 17). A wide range of food potentially contains genetically modified ingredients (Nottingham vii). Since 1996, biotech crop adoption has contributed to reducing the release of greenhouse gas emissions fromagriculture, decreased pesticide spraying and significantly boosted farmers’ incomes,” said Graham Brookes, director of PG Economics. Biotechnology process is changing conventional agriculture, allowing the creation of genetically modified crops with useful characteristics for food production. The majority of genetically modified (GM) crops nowadays have characteristics that can increase theproductivity at farm level by reducing the use of inputs and increasing the outputs. Nowadays GM crops are probably one of the most controversial issues because of the insecurity and lack of solid knowledge. This situation force ethic scientific to take a position with extremely careful. The scientist Dr. Paul Christou states that biotechnology crops could contribute to reduce the gases that cause thegreen house effect and the climatic change because they allow to decrease the emission of carbon dioxide through the reduce use of fossil fuel.
Biotechnology is being pursed to repair the problems (pesticide resistance, pollution, soil degradation, etc.) caused by previous agrochemicals technologies promoted by the same companies now leading the bio-revolution (Altieri 45). Any type ofagriculture influence on environment, it is obvious that new genetic techniques would also influence on it. Genetic engineering could contribute to the application of agriculture practices more sustainable and conservation of natural resources, including biodiversity. Scientifics agree that the use of transgenic crops resistant to insects is going to reduce the volume and frequency of pesticide use incorn and soybeans. Another important benefit from GM crops is a decrease in the contamination of water. The reduction in pesticides use indicates that GM crops would benefit in general to the biodiversity inside the crop, comparing with traditional crop which receives periodical pesticides application. Also the herbicide use is changing as consequence of the fast adoption of GM crops. It has been aremarkable change, from the use of more toxic to less toxic. Scientifics also agree that GM crops require less tilling, which means better soil conservation.
Just like genetic engineering is use to introduce genes in bacteria to produce insulin, it also works to incorporate new genes to the plants with the purpose of improve the crop quality. The use of genetic engineering in crop improving iscalled agribiotechnology or crop biotechnology. The objectives are diverse, but include the improvement of agronomic characteristics and obtaining better quality food. There are three main kinds of GM crops. The first one is crops with agronomic improvement, like morphologic characteristics, diseases resistant, herbicide tolerance and extreme environment conditions, as cold or draught. These areexamples of the first kind of crops that have been commercialized, as herbicide tolerant soybeans, corn and cotton resistant to insect. The second kind corresponds to crops that generate healthier and more nutritious food than conventional ones. The examples are rice with high content of vitamin A, potatoes that absorb less oil, sweet potato with less content of protein, and soy beans with acomposition of healthier fatty acids. The third kind refers to the use of GM crops as bio-reactors to the production of medicaments, vaccines, and other molecules of industrial interest. The international Food Policy Research Institute estimates that as much as 90% of future agricultural production will need to come from land already being used for farming (Balko 23). In other words we need to...
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