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Arguments for and against GM crops Essay

GM crops are genetically modified crops that have been genetically enhanced using modern biotechnology to carry one or more beneficial new traits. 1. What is the difference between GM and conventional plant breeding? Conventional plant breeding involves changing the genes of a plant so that a new and better variety is developed. New varieties of plants are bred to suit different climate conditions, improve taste or nutritional value, cope with disease or pests better, or to use water or nutrients more efficiently for example.

Breeding using genetic modification (GM) also involves changing the genes of a plant so that a new and better variety is developed. It is done for the same reasons as conventional breeding. The key difference is that instead of randomly mixing genes, which occurs as a result of a sexual cross, a specific gene, which is associated with a desirable trait, is selected and inserted directly into the new plant variety. 1. What is a Pharma crops? Pharma crops are genetically engineered to produce pharmaceutical drugs.

Rather than manufacturing such substances by chemical methods, the idea is to turn farmed plants into mini-factories that can mass produce medicines and other chemicals cheaply and much more efficiently. Trials of this technology have used conventional farm plants, such as maize or soya. 1. The GM supporters argue that GM crops: -Help to feed the developing world and this is a social/ economic/ political effect. This is because GM crops help increase the yield of crops for the farmers and thus benefit food distribution and benefit the country’s economy. -Are cost effective and this is social/ economic/ political effects.

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This is because they become more commercially available and there is wider availability. The seeds also have a resistance to disease and therefore farmers also save on insect resistance. GM crops also 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. -Could benefit human health and this is related to health. This is because GM crops eradicate disease so it therefore does not create human health issues as they can repel viruses and fungi and are less toxic.

-Could reduce pesticide and herbicide use and this is environmental, health, social/ economic/ political effects. This is because they have improved traits and therefore are resistant to viruses and fungi. They also increase the yield of crops and thus, do not require herbicides and so reduce costs. -Could help preserve natural habitats is environmental. This is because the efficiency gains from GM crops will place less pressure on wild or natural habitats and thereby help preserves biodiversity.

In addition, Eutrophication is prevented as less fertiliser is used. The people against GM claim that: -There will not be enough to feed the world which is health and social/economic/political effects. This is because GM seeds are much more expensive than conventional seeds and therefore means the poor cannot afford them, and thus they cannot be fed. In addition the soybeans, corn, and cotton crops that are mainly produced are not crops that will help feed most of the world. -It could damage organic farmers which are social/ economical/ political effects.

This is because organic farmers still spray the bt toxin on the plants whereas GM already have the bt gene encoded in the plant and therefore does not require the toxin. Therefore less people buy the organic produce and buy more of the GM produce. -It could increase herbicide and pesticide use which is environmental, health, social/ economic/ political effects. This is because even though GM plants do use fewer chemicals in the first few years, afterwards they use considerably more chemicals, as was reported in the U. S.

In addition with bt corn, it required more pesticide as most pesticides are directed at other corn pests. -It could reduce biodiversity which is environmental. It can do this because it is resistant to viruses, fungi and contains toxins which therefore mean the natural environment affected as the insects and bacterium lose their food source which results in a lesser population and thus, affects the consumers like birds and so on. -It mainly benefits big biotech companies which are social/economical/ political effects.

This is because they claim most of the profit for the GM seeds and these companies are also concentrating their efforts in high-volume crops, such as soybeans, corn, and cotton, and not in crops that might help feed the billions of people who live in poor countries. -It raises ethical conflicts over the control of food production which is social/ economical/ political effects. Examples of these are; 1. The possible monopolisation of the world food market by large multinational companies that control the distribution of GM seeds. 2.

Using genes from animals in plant foods may pose ethical, philosophical or religious problems. For example, eating traces of genetic material from pork could be a problem for certain religious or cultural groups. 3. Animal welfare could be adversely affected. For example, cows given more potent GM growth hormones could suffer from health problems related to growth or metabolism. 4. New GM organisms could be patented so that ‘life’ itself could become commercial property through patenting. Show preview only The above preview is un.

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