Genetically Modified Foods: We Must Proceed Cautiously Essay

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Genetic engineering (GE) or genetic modification (GM) are both terms used to describe methods “ to cut up and join together genetic material and especially DNA from one or more species of organism and to introduce the result into an organism in order to change one or more of its characteristics”. Genetic technologies in crops involve the use of GE to change the make-up of certain plants in order to improve their quality or quantity. This essay will critique the following inference that:
For centuries human beings have used conventional techniques of selective breeding and cross-breeding of animals and plants to add desired characteristics and reduce or eliminate unwanted ones. New genetic technologies should be welcomed as
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The grain demand is expected to double in the next 20 years, and the global demand for cereals is expected to increase from 0.3% to 1.4%. Total arable land currently stands at only 300 million hectares. If the population grows by 2% per year, food production must increase by 3.2% per year. Traditional farming methods simply cannot keep up with this. As one scientist has put it, “The myth that agriculture is practised in a rural Garden of Eden needs to be dispelled and replaced with the reality of it being a struggle to produce food for an ever increasing population against natural forces.” GM crops can be seen as one of the ‘rescue-robots’ of hunger, and a way of fighting against human suffering. Much higher yields of staple foods are produced through GM without enlarging the land space. New technology will result in improvement in fruit and vegetable shelf-life, improved nutritional quality and health benefits in foods, improved protein and carbohydrate content of foods, improved fat quality and more. Allergens could be taken out of peanuts or wheat, and lower calorie sugar could be produced from GM sugar beets. GM is also vital in protecting some foods we already consume. For example, unless scientists can find a way to genetically enhance the banana’s ability to ward off parasites, we will be banana-less in 10 years. Benefits are endless. In a 1999 study, it was found that 96.2% of GM plants could survive freezing experiments, versus
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