The biotechnology of genetic engineering has created a broad spectrum of ethical issues, ranging from genetically modified organisms, as in crops, to animal and human cloning, genetic screening for diseases, prenatal and preimplantation diagnosis of human embryos, xenotransplantation, and gene replacement therapy. Genetic engineering presents an exciting range of possibilities. For example, genetic engineering can give plants and crops desirable traits, such as drought resistance and additional nutrients.
The Environmental Literacy Council Genetic Modification It can be argued that any intervention by humans is a genetic modification of a plant or animal, and some modifications occur by the process of mutation and selection. Humans have been actively genetically modifying plants and animals for thousands of years through selective cross-breeding and domestication.
Genetic modification of plants essay to the s, it was primarily conducted by selecting the seeds of the best crops to sow each year, which eventually created relatively uniform strains of crop plants. Through hybridization, farmers were also able to create offspring that share the most beneficial traits of both parent lineages, including plants that grew taller, larger beef cattle, or longer blooming flowers.
These methods are still used today. The genes can be transferred from any cells or from any virus, and the species do not need to be closely related.
For example, arctic salmon genes that make them resistant to cold can be transferred to tomatoes in order to protect them from frost. One of the first, and still the most widespread, uses is the development of crops resistant to common insect pests; others include herbicide resistance, drought tolerance, and foods with enhanced nutritional values.
Inthe first food products from this technology began reaching the market, including the FlavrSavr tomato and a breed of potatoes genetically modified to produce an insect-killing protein. For commercial reasons, neither is available today. Today more than 20 different crops, including soybeans, corn, cotton, and canola, contain genetically modified varieties.
Over the past decade, the land area dedicated to GM crops has increased more than fold. There are many benefits to genetic modification, including a reduction in the need for some pesticides and increases in yield and nutrient production.
Social and economic benefits addressing health problems, such as Vitamin A deficiencies, are possible through the creation of nutritionally-enhanced crops not yet available. Even more revolutionary, is the recent development of a salt-tolerant tomato.
The breakthrough could ultimately transform barren, salt-laden soils into arable land. However, there are also potential risks; the most serious being the possibility of passing genes from genetically modified crops into their wild relatives and imparting properties that affect their spread and survival also a risk for conventional plants.
Other risks include the ability of pests to evolve resistance to the toxins produced by genetic modification and the concern over whether such modification would increase or decrease the potential for allergic reactions.
All the risks to date are speculative, but scientific studies are ongoing to assess potential risk. Insect and weed resistance are occasionally reported for engineered plants; these types of resistance are not unexpected and are common for conventional insecticides and herbicides.
Relative to conventional plants, genetically modified crops often undergo extensive laboratory and field testing to be approved for use. Canada has instituted a review process for all novel plants, regardless of how they were obtained.
Department of Agriculture is responsible for ensuring that the new crops are safe to grow; the Environmental Protection Agency is responsible for ensuring that new pest-resistant crops are safe both to grow and to consume; and the U. Food and Drug Administration oversees the safety of the new varieties for consumers.
Biotechnology has also become an important trade issue, because the U. Although there is no credible evidence of health risks to date, there continues to be considerable consumer and government resistance to GM foods across the globe.Genetically modified (GM) foods are plants and animals that have had their genetic makeup artificially altered by scientists to make them grow faster, taste better, last longer and to provide more nutrients.
Pros and Cons of Genetically Modified Foods There is a great debate going on right now on the subject of genetically modified foods, or GMOs.
For some, the idea of GMO food is a good one because the modifications allow crops to become resistant to drought and infestations, letting more people have more regular meals. Genetic modification might have resulted to the growing of pesticide and herbicide tolerant plants but the new technology has dangerous effects on human health and the environment.
Genetic modification of crops has led to reduced effectiveness of herbicides and pesticides, transfer of genes to species that are not targeted, and has caused harm to important organisms. Genetic engineering, on the other hand, can create plants with the exact desired trait very rapidly and with great accuracy.
For example, plant geneticists can isolate a. A genetically modified organism In plants the DNA is often inserted using Agrobacterium-mediated recombination, is a precursor to the modern concept of genetic modification.: 1: 1 Various advancements in genetics allowed humans to directly alter the DNA and therefore genes of organisms.
Genetic engineering is an interesting technology, which makes many scientists forget about any precautions. However, nobody can really predict what consequences it can have in the future. However, nobody can really predict what consequences it can have in the future.