The Effects of Genetic Engineering on Agriculture Essay

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Genetic engineering is a way in which specific genes for an animal or plant can be extracted, and reproduced to form a new animal or plant. These new organisms will express the required trait for that gene. This practice is a very controversial topic within the scientific world. It is being implemented in various areas such as agriculture even though there are many alternatives that can be found for genetic engineered crops, such as organic materials and reducing leeching of the soil. The controversy regarding this practice occurs as it is believed to contribute both negative and positive implications and dangers, not only to oneself but the environment as a whole. Genetic engineering increases the agricultural economy, the yields of…show more content…
This however is not always the case, as China experienced a great loss in cotton production. The introduction of a Bacillus Thuringiensis (Bt) cotton changed the ecosystem in such a way that pests, which were normally not sensitive to the Bt toxin began thriving in the cotton fields (Pelletier, 2010). This caused an increase in the use of pesticides which either leveled or decreased production rates. This caused most farmers, especially in commercialized agriculture to believe that "yields are leveling off because the maximum yield potential of current varieties is being approached, and therefore genetic engineering must be applied " (Altieri, 2004). The practice is a greatly industrialized one, as most genetic engineering in agriculture is being done by large transnational corporations. They are said to only be developing products for farmers in rich countries who can afford to pay high prices for seed (Union of Concerned Scientists, 2002). The crops of interest to theses farmers are field crops like corn, soybeans, and cotton, and fruits like tomatoes and cantaloupes. As this is a growing industry that is what the agricultural biotechnology industry is providing. Only a selected few will be able to produce the crops on a wide basis.“These products are of virtually no value to hungry farmers in Africa, who cannot afford the
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