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Evaluating the risks and benefits of GM crops.

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Introduction

Evaluating The Risks And Benefits Of GM Crops This essay aims to define GM, evaluate the risks and benefits of it's current existence and finally I will conclude on whether I think GM crops post a greater risk or benefit to consumers and the environment. The contentious subject of GM crops never seems to leave the media spotlight long enough before entering again with claims of it's hazardous effects or the latest innovations, leaving the consumer baffled by the vast amount of contradictory information. The great worldwide debate concerning all aspects of GM crops has drawn many groups of participants with articles, research, and reports proving their stance, ranging from environmental pressure groups to scientists to biotechnology companies to the government. The British Medical Association defines genetic modification as " the process of altering genetic material to express different characteristics1." Genetically modified organisms (GMO) are plant, animal, or microbe resulting from genetic modification. The regulations on all aspects of GM crops are very stringent. In July 2003, the EU lifting a 5-year ban on the sell of GM food, on the basis that they are fully labelled as containing GMO's2. Non-EU countries especially the US companies have reacted angrily to the mandatory labelling of their GM products, as they know how reluctant the Europeans are to GM. Under the new law, all foods with more than 0.9% genetically modified content will have to be labelled. ...read more.

Middle

Improved nutritional value is another said benefit of GM crops. This goes hand in hand with another benefit, the development of sustainable agricultural in the developing countries. In developing countries where the staple food is the only food that people will eat, staples such as rice could be enriched with Vitamin A7 to curb the effects of Xeropthalamia, a vitamin A deficiency that causes blindness and Anaemia, a deficiency in iron that causes reduces vitality and the work capacity of workers. Pro GM supporters suggest providing developing countries with these enrich food or with the materials to grow the types of modified crops discussed above, would let these people be able to make a sustainable living from their produce and would incur less costs than they may already face purchasing pesticides and herbicides that may kill the majority of the crop. There is overwhelming opposition to GM crops and this anti GM supporters state there are many risks of GM use to the consumer and environment. Their arguments are directly opposite those the pro GM supporters propose benefit from this innovation The leading reason to opposition to GM crops is that its risks posed to the long-term health of humans are unknown. The now well-known poison rat research carried out by Arpad Puztai, who is a lectin and protein chemistry expert, aimed to find out if there was any harmful effects, of the genetic modification of potatoes with a lectin with traits to defend against insects, on mammals. ...read more.

Conclusion

In addition, the issue of the terminator gene is one not fully explored, though Monsanto was granted a patent on such a gene, after heavy criticism they promised not to release such a product into the market. But wouldn't such a gene be a benefit to the environment that the anti GM supporters want to protect so desperate, having gene that don't sprout every year means that if an incident happened where GM seeds were blown far and wide, they would not grow and contaminate areas which may be in use of GM free agriculture. And in the same way that the biotechnology companies use their products to become the "saviours" of the developing countries as a selling point, is highly flawed. The very same countries said to benefit from GM have decided to reject the technology. The decision was taken after the Zambian Government despatched a team of scientists around the world to study the potential effects of importing GM crops. "In view of the current scientific uncertainty surrounding the issue... government has decided to base its decision not to accept GM foods in Zambia on the precautionary principle," Agriculture Minister Mundia Sikatana said.11 In conclusion the real facts of GM technology and all that surrounds it needs to be released in its entirety and plain talk so that the consumer can understand both sides of the arguments and make a educated decision with their minds. ...read more.

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4 star(s)

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A strong essay with good use of research to make balanced arguments.

Some proof-reading would clear up minor misunderstandings!

Marked by teacher Jacqui Punter 22/01/2012

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