Genetically Modified Grain Essay

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Genetically Modified Grain

Thesis: Genetically Modified Grain has many benefits and problems which have become very controversial. While these problems need to be addressed, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. GMO grain should be grown and foods containing them should not be required to bare a label.

Introduction

Genetically improved crops are not a new phenomenon. Plants have been selectively crossbred for centuries to develop heartier and more productive hybrids. Now, Biotechnology offers us the ability to transfer desired traits into plants much faster and more selectively by merely transplanting the desired gene into the grain. Genetically Modified Grain (GMO grain) is now available to the public. It has the potential to
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This protein is not toxic to humans; it is broken down in the digestive system. Bt corn does not completely eliminate the need for insecticides, but greatly helps.

In 1997, 4.5 million acres were planted to Bt. hybrids (Beeler, 1998). Today, 30 to 40% of corn and 50% of soybeans are GMO crops (Hein, 1999). This is quite a substantial percentage of our crops considering that many consider the existence of GMO crops to still be controversial. More than thirty genetically engineered plants are permitted for sale by law world wide (Hein, 1999).

Knutson, Texas A&M professor, estimates that we will not be able to feed the global population in the next 50 years unless we continue to increase crop production. In fact, we must triple farm output over the next 50 years to meet growing demands for food (American...1999). Biotechnology offers farmers capability to significantly increase yields without sacrificing huge tracts of forests and wetlands to low-yield crops and pasture.

We can not significantly increase yields without the helping hand of technology. Without the use of pesticides we could not have met global food demands for the past 50 years. Before pesticide introduction rice yields were down by 57% and corn was down 32% (Knutson, 1999). Insect-protected corn allows American farmers to increase their yields between 5 and 20% (Gallivan, 1999). With GMO seeds, anyone who can plant a seed

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