Essay The Pros and Cons of Genetically Modified Crops

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For thousands of years, humans have transformed their surroundings and neighboring organisms to suit their needs. The transformation first took place when humans spread seeds onto the earth to grow their own food, and continued when humans reached out to provide food and shelter to other animals in exchange for labor, companionship and sustenance. When early agriculture proved successful, the best and strongest animals and crops were chosen for the next generation. This was the dawn of genetic modification, and it is as old as agriculture itself. When speaking about genetically modified or genetically engineered organisms, an important distinction must be made. This new breed of technology does not use traditional means of gene…show more content…
These consequences can potentially affect human populations, but the environment can also be affected on a local or regional level. Most public concern has been focused on human health and safety regarding the use and consumption of these foods, but potential environmental impacts are important to consider as well. Many varieties of genetically engineered crops are intended to decrease the need for chemical pesticides and fertilizers, but the scope of environmental impacts does not stop at chemical usage. Common concerns about GM crops include the effects of cross-pollination, so-called “genetic contamination,” and the escape of GM crops from cultivation and their interactions with native species. Conversely, the environmental benefits of GM crops range from reducing dependence on chemical pesticides to the ability to treat polluted soils with bioremediating plants (Ford, 2004). Many varieties of genetically engineered crops have been designed to decrease the need for chemicals, particularly pesticides. Herbicide-tolerant varieties are among the most widely used type of genetically-modified crop, which enables farmers to use a single herbicide to eradicate weeds rather than rely on a cocktail of pesticides and herbicides. Eliminating weeds in this fashion also decreases the need for soil tillage, which can negatively impact soil ecology. (Ford,
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