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Genetic modification.

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Introduction

I have absolutely no anxiety. I am worried about a lot of things but not about modified food. - Dr James Watson Genetic modification takes mankind into realms that belong to God and God alone - Prince Charles What is Genetic Modification? The primary aim of genetic modification or 'genetic engineering' is to introduce, enhance or delete particular characteristics of organisms. This can be achieved through the manipulation of genes or 'gene therapy.' Genetic manipulation has evolved over the centuries from the traditional brewing and breeding practices to the recombinant technologies of today. Genetic engineering has enormous potential and its application is already having an impact in many industries, including agriculture and food production. Its development however has not been free from controversy. While gene technology promises enormous benefits for humanity, many potential risks have been identified as well. Genes are functional parts of a molecule called DNA (deoxyribose nucleic acid). Genetic engineering usually involves the insertion of a gene or genes from one species into another species. The fact that genetic engineering involves the permanent manipulation of DNA, sometimes in ways that would not occur in nature, raises many complex questions. ...read more.

Middle

What advantages are there to genetically modified organisms and foods? Give examples. There are numerous advantages to the genetic modification of organisms and foods. These include herbicide tolerant crops, disease resistance, transgenic animals and biodiversity. The production of herbicide tolerant crops relies on the introduction of genes involved in the detoxification of herbicides. Alternatively, the gene controlling the activity of the herbicide receptor can be modified so that the plant becomes less sensitive to the herbicide. Its advantages are: quantities of herbicide application can be reduced; diverse herbicides can be replaced by broad spectrum ones; weeds can be controlled by post emergence; and new non-persistent herbicides can be used. Disease resistant - Infection by viruses, bacteria and fungi is responsible for huge reductions in pre-harvest crop yields worldwide. The development of pathogen resistant crop varieties will not only increase yields significantly but will also offer major environmental benefits through the reduction of chemical inputs. Transgenic animals - Among the main development of the commercial development of transgenic animals is the improvement of the nutritional quality of food animals, increased productivity of dairy products and in the case of aquaculture, increased total weight of marine species. ...read more.

Conclusion

However in terms of development scientists cannot stop the mutation of plants and tested organisms, hence the control in testing and development is rather limited. The reality is that GM produce have a unnatural image and there's no market advantage with GM produce. Also, GM can not be classed as organic. Finally the huge profits mega companies through their testing is clearly evident. For example, I am a bit concerned that an ulterior motive of companies such as Monsanto is to undermine organic farming. The popularity of organic products seems to be growing, and as more and more farmers change to these methods it will effect the sales of pesticides and herbicides. Another big money spinner for Monsanto and other companies do follow suit. How has considering arguments for and against helped shape your view? Through comparing the pros and cons of the issue I have taken both perspectives and have gained new information on both sides. This has made more knowledgeable on the issue and I have been put into a better position in terms of knowledge to make a logical and educated opinion. Had I not had tasted both sides of this very complex and diverse issue my view would have been rather simplistic and very one sided. Chris Balis 10SCIX1 ...read more.

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