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

The Concerns and Disadvantages of Genetically Modified Crops

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

The Concerns and Disadvantages of Genetically Modified Crops The debate about the safety and need for genetically modified crops and foods has raged since the mid '90s. A lot of time and money has been spent by biotechnology companies, scientists, and governments, to convince people that there is really nothing to worry about, and that this technology will provide benefits to all. But while GM crops are now being used widely by farmers in the USA, consumers in the European Union and Japan have reacted strongly against them1. Although this has slowed the rate at which GM crops and foods are being introduced, the biotech industry is continuing to promote them. For numerous generations agriculturalists have used selective breeding to improve characteristics such as size. However Genetic Modification is very different. It is a process whereby genes are translocated from one organism to another; subsequently changing the characteristics of the 'acceptor' organism2. This transfer of genes is a difficult and haphazard procedure, and at present there is no standard way to control the outcome. ...read more.

Middle

on GM foods. But it has been severely criticised by some scientists because it is not clear what level of similarity makes something 'substantially' equivalent5. Many GM crops contain genes which provide resistance to commonly used antibiotics such as ampicillin. There is concern that these genes could be passed from food to bacteria in the guts of humans and animals. In the Netherlands, researchers used a model of a human gut to look at what would happen to GM food after it is eaten. They predicted that 6% of the genes from GM tomatoes would survive digestion and considered that the genes could survive for long enough for bacteria to pick them up. In 2002, research published by the Food Standards Agency showed this happening for the first time, when GM genes were found to have been picked up by gut bacteria of human volunteers6. Therefore this concern of genes 'jumping' the species barrier is a potentially disastrous one, because it could lead to mutations in organisms, such as bacteria, that could stop medicines such as penicillin working against them. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, many people in the world are suffering from malnutrition and hunger because they cannot afford to buy food, not because it is unavailable. Complex social, political and economic forces affect how people have access to land, money and resources. It is these forces, much more than the level of food production which determine who gets to eat, and who does not. It is not just a simple case of there being more people, so more food should be grown. There is more than enough food to feed everyone very well at the moment, yet hundreds of millions of people go hungry and nearly two billion are malnourished. For example, in 1998 it is estimated that 36 million people, including 14 million children, were hungry or on the brink of hunger in the USA9, one of the richest countries in the world! In conclusion, I feel that there are too many concerns and disadvantages associated with GM crops, to make them a viable option for food. I feel that although they do have their benefits, this is heavily overshadowed by their disadvantages, and subsequently alternative and safer methods should be introduced to replace GM crops. ...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

    Evolution, what, and any evidence is there?

    4 star(s)

    Opponents of the theory point out that just because we do not know what something does, that does not mean that it does not serve an important function. Consider vestigial organs. Back in the 19th Century there were dozens of organs which were designated ?vestigial? because scientists could not figure out what they did.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Evaluating the risks and benefits of GM crops.

    4 star(s)

    They promise increased yield, better quality crops and resistant to pest and diseases and in the long term reduced cost due to the largely reduced amount of herbicides and pesticides being required but the developing countries farmer then have to accept that these advantages come with the disadvantage of being

  1. The moral and ethical concerns with the use of genetically modified crops.

    Friends of the earth, (bearing in mind their biased view on the GM debate) believe that "It seems that the only people not convinced by the arguments against GM food are the government and the GM food industry themselves"9. Aside from the hype from Biased environmental companies there are still genuine reasons for opposing GM foods.

  2. Genetics Research

    Mild cases may go unnoticed until later in life when they occur in response to surgery or trauma. Internal bleeding may happen anywhere, and bleeding into joints is common. Risk factors are a family history of bleeding and being male.

  1. Genetically modified organisms can only be harmful to ...

    Francis Fukuyama, famous on the basis of his book, The end of history produced our post human future, which argues for legislative control of such technologies. He said that we might change our evolution by practising such technologies. Fukuyama's faith in human nature is based on a combination of evolutionary and cultural factors.

  2. Analysis of Charles Darwin's Origin of the Species

    It is true that the eye is a fabulous tool. A light sensitive optic nerve sits at the back of a mechanism that man was incapable of duplicating until the early nineteenth century. A complex series of lenses bend light in such a way that it is focused onto the

  1. Selective Breeding

    the optimum conditions for best growth as you are able to get close and give them the needs they need. * We can?t breed one sheep with all the needs as there are clashing alleles that override each other that give desired characteristics, so they are specific so they can be breed for one use only.

  2. Arguments for and against GM crops.

    -It could reduce biodiversity which is environmental. It can do this because it is resistant to viruses, fungi and contains toxins which therefore mean the natural environment affected as the insects and bacterium lose their food source which results in a lesser population and thus, affects the consumers like birds and so on.

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