The specter of eugenics raises the threat that a single human, or a group of humans, could "play God" with the lives of others. Another dramatic fear associated with genetic engineering is the threat that a genetically re-engineered virus could turn out to be extremely virulent, or deadly, and spread.
Twitter Email Genetically modified GM crops have many potential advantages in terms of raising agricultural productivity and reducing the need for environmentally harmful pesticides. They might also pose hazards to human health, from toxicity and increased risk of allergies, for example.
However, particularly in Europe, regulations designed to ensure adequate safety of GM technologies may go too far. Plant genetic engineering methods were developed over 30 years ago, and since then, genetically modified GM crops have become commercially available and widely adopted.
In these plants, one or more genes coding for desirable traits have been inserted.
The genes may come from the same or another plant species, or from totally unrelated organisms. The traits targeted through genetic engineering are often the same as those pursued by conventional breeding. However, because genetic engineering allows for direct gene transfer across species boundaries, some traits that were previously difficult or impossible to breed can now be developed with relative ease.
So-called first-generation GM crops have improved traits.
Cotton and corn have been modified to incorporate Bacillus thuringiensis Bt genes, producing proteins that are toxic only to larval pests. Crops can also be modified to ward off plant viruses or fungi. Even though the seed is more expensive, these GM crops lower the costs of production by reducing inputs of machinery, fuel, and chemical pesticides.
In addition, due to more effective pest control, crop yields are often higher. Important environmental benefits, such as controlling farm runoff that otherwise pollutes water systems, are associated with reduced spraying of chemical insecticides and highly toxic herbicides.
Reduced mechanical weeding helps prevent the loss of topsoil. Health benefits result from reduced pesticide exposure for farmers and rural laborers and lower pesticide residues for consumers. Where Bt crops have been grown in developing countries, the technology appears to often generate employment, because more workers are needed to harvest the significantly higher yields.
One study in India suggests that Bt cotton produces 82 percent higher incomes for small-farm households compared with conventional cotton—a remarkable gain in overall economic welfare. Huge benefits are also projected for future GM crops that are more tolerant to drought or more efficient in nutrient use.
Matin Qaim In terms of the distribution of benefits, interesting differences can be observed between developed and developing countries. In developed countries, where GM technologies are mostly patented, large profits accrue to biotech and seed companies.
For example, soybean farmers in Argentina or cotton farmers in China and India capture over 70 percent of the overall GM technology benefits. Consumers benefit, too, because new technologies tend to lower the price of food and other agricultural products.
Second-generation GM crops involve enhanced quality traits, such as higher nutrient content.
Other biofortification projects include corn, sorghum, cassava, and banana plants, with enhanced minerals and vitamins. Widespread production and consumption of biofortified staple crops could improve health outcomes and provide economic benefits in a very cost-effective way, especially in rural areas of developing countries.
A recent simulation shows that Golden Rice could reduce health problems associated with vitamin A deficiency by up to 60 percent in rice-eating populations. Regulation of GM Crops Despite all those real and potential advantages, GM crops have aroused significant opposition, particularly in Europe.
The major concerns relate to potential environmental and health risks, such as allergenicity of transgenes or loss of biodiversity. But there are also fears about adverse social implications—for instance, that GM technology could undermine traditional knowledge systems in developing countries—and the monopolization of seed markets and exploitation of small farmers.
Unexpected risks have not materialized so far, and those risks that do exist seem to be manageable.The age-old human fantasies of the mythical chimeras of the ancients, supernatural intelligence, wiping disease from human inheritance, designing a better human being, the fountain of youth, and even immortality now have biotechnical credence in the theoretical promises of genetics and genetic engineering.
9 Big Advantages and Disadvantages of Genetic Engineering navajocodetalkersadmin on June 17, - pm in Pros and Cons Genetic engineering is the .
Evaluating the Risks and Benefits of Genetically Modified Agricultural Products _____ MALD Thesis - 1 - Noah Bessoff 1 INTRODUCTION 2 Global GMO Production in 5 Evaluating the Risks and Benefits of Genetically Modified Agricultural Products exploring GMO use to suppress those efforts for fear of losing access to .
Oct 05, · News about Genetic Engineering, including commentary and archival articles published in The New York Times. Benefits of Genetic Engineering The use of genetic engineering and the creation of genetically modified crops has resulted in many benefits for the agricultural world.
Recent advances in genetics and reproductive technology have opened the door to a new form of eugenics, termed “modern eugenics,” or “human genetic engineering,” that is focused on repairing faulty genes associated with disease or other health conditions.