• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

GM Crops- Should they be grown?

Extracts from this document...


GM Crops- Should they be grown? In February 2004, Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett announced that commercial planting of some GM crops would commence in the United Kingdom following approval of genetically-modified maize within the scientific community. The Daily Mail responded to the announcement by stating that 'the decision - by the Government's Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment - flies in the face of official polls showing 90 per cent of people oppose the genetic modification of crops and food'1. Gm crop production has remained a much debated subject within international politics and social discussion. Conflicting reports from the media which support and scrutinise the subject of genetically modified crops and their safety have heightened public concerns fuelling hysterical speculation. Yet there are advantages and disadvantages relating to the application of gene technology to crop production. The pros and cons of the commercial growth of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is combined closely within a mesh of economic, social, ethical and environmental factors that must be considered before answering the question - Should genetically modified crops be grown? Genetic modification or recombinant DNA technology is the technique of changing, and transferring genetic material. ...read more.


Genetic modification of crops may potentially have several health and medical benefits. Recombinant DNA technology could allow the removal of allergens from crops that currently contain them, and enable the production of plants that produce pharmaceutical substances, acting as edible vaccines. Gene technology could enhance the production of vitamins and anticancer substances produced by plants6. Benefits for the consumer include increased storage time, improved flavour, texture, and nutritional content, improved quality and possible decrease in pricing. Although the process of transferring and inserting genetic material between organisms could be viewed as a recent unethical advance in biological science, the fact remains that we as humans have been using organisms for years; Plants and foods as a source of medicine, plants for shelter and tools, bacteria has been used to produce milk, cheese and vinegar, whilst yeast have been manipulated to make bread and alcohol. Humans genetically changed these organisms because only the organism that showed the best qualities was allowed to breed - a process called artificial selection, because it was humans not nature that determined which characteristics were allowed to dominate the population and continue to breed. ...read more.


Therefore before we press ahead with mass international growth of GM crops it is essential that there should be an international moratorium on the commercial growing of GM crops to allow further scientific analysis of socio-economic, health and environmental implications, public debate on biotechnology aimed at educating and informing, establishment of national regulatory/monitoring systems, and issuing of legislation ensuring company liability for adverse effects. More countries must sign the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD), which should advocate the precautionary principle in relation to transboundary movements of GM crops, regulating liability and compensation in relation to possible GM technology-related damage. World trade organisation rules should be amended to allow governments to restrict imports and/or allow mandatory labelling of GM seeds and foods available to the public on the open market, whilst also tackling the ethical concerns of some religious groups who cannot use products from specific organisms. It is then and only then that both scientific communities as well as the general inhabitants of international communities can be confident that the disadvantages of commercial growth of GM crops can be overcome and successfully controlled. Ultimately allowing us to reap the advantages of the growth of GM crops and what is undoubtedly a highly significant technological advancement in biological science. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Variation and Inheritance section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Variation and Inheritance essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Evaluating the risks and benefits of GM crops.

    4 star(s)

    The main threat to non-GM cotton was the Heliothis caterpillar, and farmers would use endosulfan, an agricultural chemical used in cotton crops. The problem arose that this chemical was it leached into food chain through cattle that shared the same environment as the treated cotton.

  2. Food Policy at a Crossroads, A World of Plenty or a World of Famine ...

    and reached $23 billion in 2002.9 Most of the growth has occurred in North America, which overtook Europe as the largest market for organic food and drinks. Worldwide, there are almost 23 million hectares of organic farmland. Finally, as consumer acceptance of organic foods increase and more farms convert to

  1. The Concerns and Disadvantages of Genetically Modified Crops

    Similarly more than 20 bird species including the tree sparrow and song thrush have shown drastic declines in numbers since the 1970s 7. There is widespread concern that the use of GM herbicide tolerant crops could make this worse. To add to the list of concerns for farmers and the public when growing GM crops, is the risk of contamination.

  2. Genetic Modification

    But GM foods today have a lot of opposition from certain groups that discourage the use of genetic engineering on plants and animals. In the present day Genetic engineering is becoming more popular (as the next paragraph shows) and will be required more in the future for various aspects of human life.

  1. Should Biological Warfare Research Continue?

    an offensive programme Anthrax, botulinum toxin, ricin, aflatoxin, wheat cover smut, brucellosis, hemorrhagic conjuctivitis virus, rotavirus, camel pox, plague JAPAN Former Programme Anthrax, plague, glanders, typhoid, cholera, dysentery, typhoid, paratyphoid, gas gangrene, influenza, tetanus, tuberculosis, tularaemia, salmonella, typhus, tetrodotoxin NORTH KOREA Possible production of agents Anthrax, plague, yellow fever, typhoid,

  2. What are GM foods? - Assessing the risks and benefits

    To an extent, GM is also environmentally friendly because the use of agricultural chemicals has reduced due to the built-in insecticides at the core of most GM products. US studies show chemical spraying for GM crops fell by 14% for corn and a massive 72% for cotton.

  1. What is population genetics and how is it put to practical use?

    Recombination occurs during the first meiotic division of gametes, resulting in an exchange of genes between homologues. This does not alter the allele frequencies in the population but it "shuffles" genes along chromosomes resulting in new allele combinations to their parents.

  2. Arguments for and against GM crops.

    In addition the soybeans, corn, and cotton crops that are mainly produced are not crops that will help feed most of the world. -It could damage organic farmers which are social/ economical/ political effects. This is because organic farmers still spray the bt toxin on the plants whereas GM already

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work