Are Genetic Engineering Crops Dangerous?

Genetic engineering crops are a controversial issue, as some believe they have the potential to solve the world hunger problem, while at the same time lowering food prices for everyone in the developed world, while others point to the potential dangers of altering nature. The case for the positive effects of genetically modified food is new proven, in the sense that it genuinely is more durable, but the potential side effects remain to be seen. The immediate future is likely to answer many of the questions, as genetic engineering in plants is at a more advanced stage than any other branch of the science.

The motivation behind using genetic engineering to produce crops is an obvious one, as it can lead to improved yields and more durable crops. With current technology it is not difficult to grow a crop which will be stronger, grow taller, and give more food than an equivalent naturally occurring crop. This improved food yield could easily lead to falling prices in food stores, as well as the possibility of exporting more food to other parts of the world. Famines could be eased or even eliminated using this technology, but the risk remains unknown.

Similar genetic modifications can create crops which are resistant to prevailing weather conditions, and this will inevitably mean that more of the surface of the planet can be reliably used. In temperate areas, it is common for temperature and weather variations to be extreme, sometimes up to ten degrees either side of the average. Cold can kill off crops of this type, and so can drought. If a more resistant crop can be grown, there will inevitably be an increase in productivity for any given piece of land. This would also play a significant role in potentially reducing world food shortages.

types of genetic engineering

The world is already producing genetic engineering crops in large quantities, without as much controversy or argument as you might expect. That is not to say there are no dissenters, because there are plenty, but it has been a relatively smooth ride for the politicians in getting their wishes passed. Much of the controversy which does exist concerns labeling, or more precisely the lack of it, in many major countries including the United States. There is a strong argument that people should know exactly what they are eating and what has been done to it, but the practical difficulties in full disclosure labeling are extreme.

It is virtually impossible to quantify exactly what the long term consequences of a dependency upon genetic engineering would be, in terms of agriculture and ecology. There are more controversial applications which involve using animals and even human beings, where the negative effects could be extreme, but in the case of plant food it is difficult to tell. So much will depend on how much the altered food can spread and potentially affect other crops, on other farms and even in other countries. There is certainly a potential for chaos to ensue.

genetic engineering

There is also no way of determining the effect of genetic engineering crops on the human body. Science is always concerned with numbers and with quantities of nutrients which are taken into the body, and rarely with the quality of those nutrients. There are many substances which the body can absorb and cope with perfectly well, as long as they are in a natural state. When they are altered by science to become chemicals, the body cannot absorb them as they are no longer in an organic natural state. It is possible that eating genetically modified food could cause this type of difficulty, as the body is not built to handle genetic engineering crops.

 

 

 

Genetic Engineering News:

 

Virus stampingEUR”a versatile new method for genetic engineering of single cells - Phys.Org

Phys.Org

Virus stampingEUR”a versatile new method for genetic engineering of single cells
Phys.Org
For decades now, scientists have used viruses as vehicles for introducing new genes into cells. Different types of viruses such as lentivirus, herpes simplex and adeno-associated viruses can be used to genetically engineer individual cells or cellular .

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Engineers Create Plants That Glow - Big Think (blog)

Big Think (blog)

Engineers Create Plants That Glow
Big Think (blog)
Previous efforts to create light-emitting plants have relied on genetically engineering plants to express the gene for luciferase, but this is a laborious process that yields extremely dim light. Those studies were performed on tobacco plants and .

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Epigenetic Barcodes Scanned to Inventory Microbiomes More Exactly - Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

Epigenetic Barcodes Scanned to Inventory Microbiomes More Exactly
Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News
Taking stock of microbiomes has implications for clinical care, but to date, inventory methods have struggled to identify individual microbial species and strains. Existing methods often classify microbial species as part of broader genetic families .

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Lamarckian Evolution is Making a Comeback - Brain Blogger (blog)

Brain Blogger (blog)

Lamarckian Evolution is Making a Comeback
Brain Blogger (blog)
By 2003, we had completed the Human Genome Project, which told us a lot about our genome and genes, but little about the epigenome. Since then, we've learned a lot. The epigenome refers to the 98% of our genome that does not code for proteins (what we .

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Gene therapy offers long-term treatment for mice with diabetes - LA . - Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times

Gene therapy offers long-term treatment for mice with diabetes - LA .
Los Angeles Times
A single infusion of a virus containing two hand-picked genes restored normal blood sugar levels in mice with Type 1 diabetes for four months. The equivalent improvement in humans could last for several years.

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Gene therapy offers long-term treatment for mice with diabetes - Fairfield Daily Republic

Gene therapy offers long-term treatment for mice with diabetes
Fairfield Daily Republic
The newly resurgent field of gene therapy, which recently produced treatments for blood cancers and blindness, has taken a step toward fighting a scourge that is on the rise worldwide: diabetes. In research reported last week in the journal Cell Stem .

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