Presentation on theme: "GM Technology (The Perfect Plant or The Next Mad Cow?) Image courtesy ofcountry2.blogspot.com Image courtesy of www.kandicrops.org Egr 108 Dr. Davis J."— Presentation transcript:
GM Technology (The Perfect Plant or The Next Mad Cow?) Image courtesy ofcountry2.blogspot.com Image courtesy of www.kandicrops.org Egr 108 Dr. Davis J. Rodgers
Important Questions What is GM technology? Is GM technology safe for plants, animals and humans? Is GM technology the solution to world hunger? Is it ethical to alter the genetic make up of a plant? Does GM technology prove to be a safer, more environmentally friendly technology that reduces use of harmful chemicals, soil erosion, and fuel consumption? Image courtesy of www.google.com
What is GM technology and Where Did It Come From? GM stands for Genetically Modified. GM technology can also be referred to as Biotechnology. A plant that has had its DNA altered through genetic engineering is said to be genetically modified. A Brief History of GM technology The Flavr Savr tomato was the first genetically modified crop to be introduced into the market in 1994. This tomato was developed to have a longer shelf life than a normal, everyday tomato. The tomato did not fair well on the market, and it did not get widely accepted due to competition from a conventionally bred tomato that had an even longer shelf life. In 1996, a type of Flavr Savr tomato was used by the company Zeneca, in Europe. They used the GM tomato to make tomato paste. The tomato paste was a success. Images courtesy of www.google.com
What is GM technology and Where Did It Come From? A Brief History Continued Unfortunately, outbreaks of Mad Cow disease (although not related to GM technology) in Europe caused European consumers to become skeptical of GM foods and made them critical of Government inspection of them. Consumers felt that GM foods could cause new diseases that the government might would not catch. In 1996 the company Monsanto introduced herbicide resistant soybeans and insect resistant cotton (Bt cotton). The soybeans and cotton were a big success. The United States has come to widely accept GM crops along with many other Agricultural countries including Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, India, and China. Image Courtesy of www.google.com
What are the Advantages of GM technology? There are many advantages to GM technology. GM technology can be used to reduce the amount of Chemicals that farmers use on their crops (mainly herbicides and pesticides) thus decreasing the risk of poisoning humans, animals, and the environment. As a result of the introduction of GM crops such as Bt cotton, pesticide use has been reduced by 172,000 metric tons since 1996. GM crops can also be made so that they taste better or even last on the shelf longer i.e. Flavr Savr tomatoes. In addition, GM crops can be developed so that they can survive in more stressful environments such as extreme heats, extreme cold, wet climates, and dry climates. GM crops help farmers earn more income by providing higher yields and use less resources because it allows the farmers to spray chemicals less. The higher yields produced by GM technology is a step forward in the direction of solving world hunger.
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Disadvantages of GM Technology Many people argue that genetically altering a plant’s DNA is unethical and unnatural. Opponents of GM technology think that if one alters the DNA of a plant then they do not know what will result immediately or even in the far future. GM technology uses antibiotic resistance genes as markers. It is feared that these antibiotic resistant genes could somehow be introduced into the body causing antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria. It is also feared that genetically modified seeds could contain higher amounts of allergens and toxins that can be harmful to the body. Although, there have been no cases of adverse health effects yet, there is still no certain way to make sure that genetically modified crops are not harmful to the body. Image courtesy of www.turbosquid.com
Disadvantages of GM Technology Continued Many people will not buy GM crops because of concerns with their religion or the environment and their health. Although they are not connected, many European countries will not buy or grow GM crops due to the recent Mad Cow Disease outbreak. It is a concern that GM crops could cross pollinate with conventional crops and cause a hybrid undesirable crop to be produced. Pest resistant seeds such as Bt cotton could not only kill harmful target insects but may also kill good insects such as the Monarch Butterfly Image courtesy of www.laspilitas.com
Conclusion (What is the future of GM crops?) Although they have not been deemed harmful to the human body, animals or the environment GM crops will have skeptics for a while due to their newness on the market. The argument of whether GM technology is ethical will continue for some time and probably will never be put to rest. GM crops may not be the final solution to solving the issue of world hunger but they will help. GM crops will become more and more important to developing countries due to their ease of production, decreased production cost, and increased yields. Acreage of GM crops in developed countries such as the United States will increase due to wider acceptance among the public and evident benefits of growing GM crops over conventional crops. European countries will eventually come to accept GM technology due to its tremendous popularity and its ability to increase production and protect the environment.
References Monsanto Corp. (2004-2008). Benefits of Our Products (Biotechnology). Retrieved March 18, 2008 from http://www.monsanto.com/products/benefits/biotechnology.asp. http://www.monsanto.com/products/benefits/biotechnology.asp Guterl, F. (2003).The Fear of Food; One by one, countries are coming out against crops with engineered genes. America is isolated. Newsweek, Jan 27, 2003, pg. 40. Patel, R. & Torres R.J. & Rosset P. (Oct-Dec 2005). Genetic Engineering in Agriculture and Corporate Engineering in Public Debate: Risk, Public Relations, and Public Debate over Genetically Modified Crops. International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health, Vol. 11. Iss. 4. Retrieved March 18, 2008, from http://proquest.umi.com/pqdwebindex=8&did=930821351&SrchMode=309&VNam http://proquest.umi.com/pqdwebindex=8&did=930821351&SrchMode=309&VNam Green Facts (December 28, 2007). Scientific Facts on Genetically Modified Crops. Retrieved March 18, 2008. from http://www.greenfacts.org/en/gmo/index.htm#1. http://www.greenfacts.org/en/gmo/index.htm#1. U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science, Office of Biological and Environmental Research. (July 24, 2007). Genetically Modified Foods and Organisms. Retrieved March 18, 2008. from http://www.ornl.gov/sci/techresources/Human_Genome/elsi/gmfood.shtml.