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Are genetically modified crops a natural progression in efficient agriculture or are we ‘playing God’ with nature? Can we afford not to embrace GM?


You will be assessed on:
1. Quality of writing and evidence.
2. Written expression and presentation.
3. Sources and referencing.

Advantages

The genetic modification of the crops is one of the agricultural technologies that have been adopted in the fastest possible manner. The implementation of the genetic modification in the crops, majorly the staple crops that are produced after the implementation of the genetic modification within the production of the given crops. The implementation of the genetic modification has led to the herbicide tolerance of the major crops as well as resistance of the crops towards the insects that are majorly known to be feasting on the crops (Huesing et al. 2016). The following essay deals with the discussion on the genetic modification within the crops that are discussed within the agricultural practices of the present days.

The genetically modified crops refer to those plants that are used for the agricultural practices after a modification of the genetical structure of the concerned crop. These crops are generally known to have faced a change in their DNA through the implementation of the methods of genetic engineering. One of the major reasons for the genetic modification of the crops is to introduce a completely new trait within the given plant. The trait that is instilled within the plant after the genetic modification tends to be a completely new trait for the given species of the plant (Wang et al. 2016). The genetic modification of the crops at times lead to the implementation of the needed resistance within concerned species of the plants regarding certain pests, certain diseases, the concerned environmental conditions that the plant species have been facing with. The genetic modification of the crops further includes that spoilage reduction within the species of plants as well as the resistance of the concerned plant species to certain chemicals treatments especially herbicides. The genetic modification of the crops also includes the improvement of the concerned nutrient profile of the concerned crops (Huang et al. 2016). The genetic modification of the crops might also be inclusive of the production of the various pharmaceutical agents, the biofuels and the several useful goods that have been useful for the industrialization, as well as the processes of bioremediation.

The farmers all over the world are known to have adopted the processes of the technologies of the genetic modification for the crops that they have been producing. The genetic modification of the crops is one of the agricultural technologies that have been adopted in the fastest possible manner. The implementation of the genetic modification in the crops, majorly the staple crops that are produced after the implementation of the genetic modification within the production of the given crops (Wang et al. 2016). The implementation of the genetic modification has led to the herbicide tolerance of the major crops as well as resistance of the crops towards the insects that are majorly known to be feasting on the crops. The genetically modified maize crops during the year 2015 amounted to almost one-third of the total production of maize all over the world. The total amount of maize that was produced using the genetically modified version of the crop amounted to almost 53.6 million hectares in the year 2015 (Pellegrino et al. 2018). The crop was known to have demonstrated improvement in the matters that are related to the production of the crops. The yield of the crop was known to have been higher by almost 24.5% with a reduction of mycotoxins by 28.8%, thricotecens by almost 36.5% and the quantities of fumonisin by 30.6% (Pellegrino et al. 2018). The results of the conducted tests revealed that the several non-target organisms were left unharmed except for the Braconidae, a parasitoid of the European corn borer, the parasite that targets the Lepidoptera that is active within the Bt maize (Pellegrino et al. 2018). The genetically modified maize demonstrated a higher decomposition of the biomass but the variation in the lignin content was not so prominent.

Disadvantages

The genetic modification of the crops involves the insertion of the new DNA within the genome of the plant. This is initially done with the help of the tissue culture wherein the plants are developed. The seeds that are produced by the plants that have been treated with the genetic modification are expected to bear the characteristics that are implemented within the laboratories. The genetic modification of the plants involves the addition of a specific strand of DNA within the genome of the plant and thus results in the development of the new trends within the characteristics of the given plant (Kanchiswamy et al. 2015). The changes within the plant might be inclusive of the changes within the growth tendencies of the plant, the increase of the resistance of the concerned plant in the matters that are related to a certain disease or even a group of diseases. The DNA of the concerned plant would be borne by the seeds that are produced by the concerned plant (Allen 2010). The process of the genetic modification of the concerned plant especially the crops tend to deal with the matters that are related to the transference of the DNA fragments through the coating of the plant with the concerned DNA strip. The other process of the DNA fragment transfer is the insertion of the bacteria or the virus within the given plant. The bacteria that is generally used for the transferring the DNA genome within the crops is the Agrobacterium tumefaciens (Barrows, Sexton and Zilberman 2014). The genetic modification is mostly possible in cases wherein the plants have been known to have completely accepted the DNA fragment that is inserted within the plant.

The genetic modification of the crops is known to have a great number of advantages for the agricultural matters. The genetically modified crops are known to be modifiable according to the needs of the health benefits. The crops can be modified to provide better nutritional value to the concerned dish that is made with the crop in discussion. This helps the poor people to have access to the proper nutritional value in their food that is required for the maintenance of the health of the people who cannot afford to access the medicines and the other sources of nutrition (Hakim 2016). The genetically modified crops are known to have a longer shelf life as compared to their predecessors. The genetically modified crops are known to last longer after harvest as compared to their predecessors. This helps in the dispatch of the food products to the areas that experience food deserts or even the shortage of proper food. Thus, the conditions of the shortage of food can be met in a proper and affordable way (Li et al. 2017). The price of the genetically modified crops is generally known to be lower thereby leading to the conditions where in the people residing within the poverty conditions tend to be gain access to the healthy food items. The genetically modified crop items are generally known to have been requiring smaller land expanses for the agricultural factors that are related to the cultivation of the crops (Ladics et al. 2015). The genetic modifications of the crop are at times known to have doubled the production of the crops as compared to the predecessors of these crops. The local farmers who have implemented the genetic modification techniques within the cultivation of the crops are known to have almost doubled the production of the crops. The genetic modification of the crops is also known to be useful in the conservation of the environment (Barrett 2010). The crops are known to have been useful for the conservation of the energy resources, the soil of the area as well as the water resources that are required for the proper cultivation of the crops.

The genetic modification of the crops might help the concerned farmers to grow larger quantities of food within the lower budgets. The genetic modification of the crops also enables the cultivation of the crops that would be able to feed the greater number of the population than the predecessors. The genetic modification is known to have huge impacts on the ultimate consumers of the crop. The genetic modification of rice, for example, might help in the reduction of the deficiency of Vitamin A. This might be achieved by increasing the levels of the concerned vitamin within the given crop. The majority of the population of the world is known to consume rice as a staple food on a daily basis (Klümper and Qaim 2014). Thus, the insertion of the given vitamin within the crop might be helpful in the solution of the issues that are faced by the global population on the matters related to the deficiency of the concerned vitamin (Garnett 2013). The other modification that is being discussed in this light is the production of the soy beans that are helpful for the production of the higher levels of the Omega-3s protein without the production of the trans-fats. The genetic modification ensures that the crops are not exposed to the higher number of the harmful agents (Thomas et al. 2017). These harmful agents might refer to the pesticides, the herbicides that need to be applied to the crops in order to deal with the threats that are related to the pests, the weeds and other such agents. This leads to the increment of the profit of the farmers due to the lowering of the costs of production. The genetic modification also leads to the higher amounts of the yields within the existing farms of the crops (Pino et al. 2016). The genetic modification also helps in the matters of the increase in the production of the core crops. The genetic variation helps in saving the concerned crop from being attacked by the infection from the viruses (Qaim 2016). This, in the longer run helps in saving the concerned crop from being extinct.

The genetic modification of the crops helps in the modification of the better methods of the ground care methods that are implemented by the farmers. This also helps in the matters that are related to the reduction of the soil erosion. The genetic modification of the crops is also helpful in the elimination of the issues like the allergies and the issues related to the intolerance for certain elements that are included in the given crops (Bonny 2016). The intolerance in the matters that are related to the agents that might cause allergies can be reduced by implementing the genetic modification. The genetically modified crops are known to have been demanding less water for their cultivation.

The genetically modified crops are also known to have a greater amount of the disadvantages as well. The major disadvantages of the genetic modification of the crops are also known to have some levels of the genetic modification within the crops. The commercialization of the crops might lead to the implementation of the genetic changes within the concerned crop. The genetic modification of the crops might also lead to the increase in the allergic reactions within the end consumers of the products (Coleman-Derr and Tringe 2014). The food intolerance of the concerned end consumers might be aggravated through the implementation of the genetic modification. The genetic modification of the crops might also contaminate the fields wherein the crops are being produced. The concerned crops might also be affected within the due to the animal proteins that are either attached or have been produced from the crops (Erickson 2008). The other disadvantage of the genetically modified crops aims at the encouragement of the additional herbicides in the cultivation of the crops (Xiong, Ding and Li 2015). The genetic modification of the crops helps in the creation of the super weeds and the super bugs. However, the genetic engineering of the crops does not aim to solve all the issues that are related to agriculture.

In lieu of the above discussion, the genetic modification of the crops might lead to the proper conditions wherein the crops might face a proper cultivation. The genetic modification of the crops is also known to be useful in the conservation of the environment. The crops are known to have been useful for the conservation of the energy resources, the soil of the area as well as the water resources that are required for the proper cultivation of the crops. The genetic modification of the crops might help the concerned farmers to grow larger quantities of food within the lower budgets. The genetic modification of the crops also enables the cultivation of the crops that would be able to feed the greater number of the population than the predecessors.

References

Allen, Patricia. "Realizing justice in local food systems." Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society 3, no. 2 (2010): 295-308.

Barrett, Christopher B. "Measuring food insecurity." Science327, no. 5967 (2010): 825-828.

Barrows, Geoffrey, Steven Sexton, and David Zilberman. "Agricultural biotechnology: the promise and prospects of genetically modified crops." Journal of Economic Perspectives28, no. 1 (2014): 99-120.

Bonny, Sylvie. "Genetically modified herbicide-tolerant crops, weeds, and herbicides: overview and impact." Environmental management 57, no. 1 (2016): 31-48.

Coleman-Derr, Devin, and Susannah G. Tringe. "Building the crops of tomorrow: advantages of symbiont-based approaches to improving abiotic stress tolerance." Frontiers in microbiology 5 (2014): 283.

Erickson, Polly J. "Conceptualizing food systems for global environmental change research." Global environmental change 18, no. 1 (2008): 234-245.

Garnett, Tara. "Food sustainability: problems, perspectives and solutions." Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 72, no. 1 (2013): 29-39.

Hakim, Danny. "Doubts about the promised bounty of genetically modified crops." New York Times 29 (2016).

Huang, Sanwen, Detlef Weigel, Roger N. Beachy, and Jiayang Li. "A proposed regulatory framework for genome-edited crops." Nature genetics 48, no. 2 (2016): 109.

Huesing, Joseph E., David Andres, Michael P. Braverman, Andrea Burns, Allan S. Felsot, George G. Harrigan, Richard L. Hellmich et al. "Global adoption of genetically modified (GM) crops: challenges for the public sector." Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 64, no. 2 (2016): 394-402.

Kanchiswamy, Chidananda Nagamangala, Daniel James Sargent, Riccardo Velasco, Massimo E. Maffei, and Mickael Malnoy. "Looking forward to genetically edited fruit crops." Trends in biotechnology 33, no. 2 (2015): 62-64.

Klümper, Wilhelm, and Matin Qaim. "A meta-analysis of the impacts of genetically modified crops." PloS one 9, no. 11 (2014): e111629.

Ladics, Gregory S., Andrew Bartholomaeus, Phil Bregitzer, Nancy G. Doerrer, Alan Gray, Thomas Holzhauser, Mark Jordan et al. "Genetic basis and detection of unintended effects in genetically modified crop plants." Transgenic research 24, no. 4 (2015): 587-603.

Li, Rong, Sheng Quan, Xiaofang Yan, Sukumar Biswas, Dabing Zhang, and Jianxin Shi. "Molecular characterization of genetically-modified crops: Challenges and strategies." Biotechnology advances 35, no. 2 (2017): 302-309.

Pellegrino, Elisa, Stefano Bedini, Marco Nuti, and Laura Ercoli. "Impact of genetically engineered maize on agronomic, environmental and toxicological traits: a meta-analysis of 21 years of field data." Scientific reports 8, no. 1 (2018): 3113.

Pino, Giovanni, Cesare Amatulli, Matteo De Angelis, and Alessandro M. Peluso. "The influence of corporate social responsibility on consumers' attitudes and intentions toward genetically modified foods: evidence from Italy." Journal of cleaner production 112 (2016): 2861-2869.

Qaim, Matin. Genetically modified crops and agricultural development. Springer, 2016.

Thomas, Evert, Eduardo Tovar, Carolina Villafañe, José Leonardo Bocanegra, and Rodrigo Moreno. "Distribution, genetic diversity and potential spatiotemporal scale of alien gene flow in crop wild relatives of rice (Oryza spp.) in Colombia." Rice 10, no. 1 (2017): 13.

Wang, Yanting, Chunfen Fan, Huizhen Hu, Ying Li, Dan Sun, Youmei Wang, and Liangcai Peng. "Genetic modification of plant cell walls to enhance biomass yield and biofuel production in bioenergy crops." Biotechnology advances 34, no. 5 (2016): 997-1017.

Xiong, Jin-Song, Jing Ding, and Yi Li. "Genome-editing technologies and their potential application in horticultural crop breeding." Horticulture Research 2 (2015): 15019.

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