Assignment 2: Gene Technology – Genetically Modified Crop Plants
Introduction to Biology
Genetically Modified Crop Plants
Genetically modified crop plants or (GM) are fruits, vegetables, and grains that have been modified through genetics to increase the lifespan of the crop, promote increased nutrients, grow crops that resist diseases and increase growth size. The scientific principles and technology behind genetically modified crops are the method of adding new genes utilizing the techniques of genetic engineering. This technology enables the alteration or construction methods to allow the modifications of living cells DNA. Breeding has created a vast crops majority of plants produced during these times. The breeding method of crops is primarily achieved by introducing new traits of crops to existing crop lines by pairing them with other crops that have similar traits. The breeding and genetic modification of crop plants have been performed for dozens of decades. As indicated in the “Farmers, Scientist, And Plant Breeding: Knowledge And Practice”, “Plant breeding, including both choosing crop varieties and populations and selecting plants, is based on an understanding of plants, environments and the relationship between them.”
Based on the course book, “Biology Today and Tomorrow without Physiology, 4th Edition, Chapter ten”, “As crop production expands to keep pace with human population growth, it places unavoidable pressure on ecosystems everywhere. Irrigation leaves mineral and salt residues in soils. Tilled soil erodes, taking top-soil with it. Runoff clogs rivers, and fertilizer in it causes algae to grow so fast that fish suffocate. Pesticides can be harmful to humans and beneficial insects such as bees. Pressured to produce more food at lower cost and with less damage to the environment, many farmers have begun to rely on genetically modified crop plants.”
Throughout the first stage of breeding, all parental lines genes are unsystematically combined. Because the final result or outcome of crops are somewhat diverse, both phenotypically and genetically, they are paired to one of the host or parent genes through several processes until the indigenous genotypes of the parent are reinstituted. The conventional breeding strategies for crops can take several years or generations through backcrossing. Backcrossing in regards to crop breeding can only shift genes among neighboring related species. Within the elements of wild Agrobacterium strands or transfer DNA, it comprises many genes that can seize or overcome plant biochemical pathways to enable plant cells synthesized chemical compounds that Agrobacterium utilizes for food sources.
Using the strategies of modular cloning, transfer DNA of bacterial genes can be eliminated and exchanged with the dominant genes of interest. Agrobacterium then transfers the jeans among plant nucleus through the combining in a plant genome. Another form of technology that can be primarily utilized for crop modification is a gene gun. In addition, to I’m putting genes of interest in Agrobacteria, the species DNA is charged microscopically and inserted directly into plant cells. Particles will sometimes land in the plant cells nuclei and DNA retained is injected into the plant’s chromosomes. Both the gene gun and Agrobacteria are done in the tissue cultures of plants. These transformed plant cells grow into actual plants.
The social and ethical implications of genetically modified crops are the negative impact on human health. Some of the risks can be from crop plant species formulated from the production a pharmaceutical means. Commonly referred to as, “pharma crops”, the methods of crop production are grown among strict standards originated to obstruct the contamination of a supply of food. A great example can include genetically modified corn used to implement pharmaceutical drugs. These genetically modified corn crops or “pharma crops” are regulated by the USDA not to be grown within on mile of other cornfields. Through human error, sometimes “pharma crops” can be inadvertently mixed with traditional crop corn used as a food source that is designed to be consumed by humans and livestock. Another implication is the potential allergens and toxins that are produced through genetic modification of crop plants. Resources got from “Testing of Genetically Modified Organisms in Food” state “As with any technology, uncertainties exist and on knowledge about the risk and benefits of agricultural biotechnology. Some degree of hazards is associated with every technology and all activities of daily lives, it is important to assess the likelihood in consequence of the risk and compare them to the potential and actual benefits. Risk and benefits analysis should be an ongoing process for all technologies, even ones that have been in existence.” Various other implications and disadvantages of genetically modified crop plants include:
Dangerous to other insects needed to support the Earth ecosystem
The GMO process can be dangerous to some insects such as butterflies they cause no damage and danger to plant crops.
Cause damage to Earths environment
Due to the unnatural way in which genetically modified crop plants are made, it can cause threats to the environment.
Cause more weeds
Engineered plant crops serve as pathways in transporting gene to wild plants. The outcome can produce more weeds. To eliminate the advanced growth of plants, some scientists created new herbicides. The chemical makeup of herbicides can be toxic to amphibians and mammals who rely on genetically modified plant crops for food sources. Furthermore, herbicides can have a catastrophic impact on particular ecosystems.
There are several benefits of genetically modified crop plants. It’s factual that hunger and famine have stitched itself to the wounds of a great nation. Many third world countries don’t have the food sources that the US has. In addition to increase lifespan, genetically modified crop plants have a better resistance to disease and weeds. Other benefits of genetically modified plant crops can include:
More nutritional value
The genetically modified plant crops process can add nutritional value to plants that have inadequate vitamins and minerals. Plant genes can be added to corn and rice to increase nutritional value. In many parts of the world corn and rice plays a critical role in fighting starvation and famine.
Safe for Human consumption
Evaluation and testing that are done on genetically modified plant crops are found to be safer for human consumption than that of traditional crops.
The scientific process used to create genetically modified crop plants do not require the use of pesticides. Because of this, farmers can cut cost associated with the manufacturing of plant crops.
Decrease in food cost
Genetically engineered plant crops can lead to lower food cost which can save consumers money at the checkout counter. With the savings, there are fewer instances of starvation and hunger Furthermore, these foods tend to have a better texture, flavor, and nutritional value.
Other benefits of genetically modified crop plants include, more efficient use of land, longer shelf life, and a reduction in fossil fuel, soil loss and labor cost, a reduction in plant crop damage from weeds, disease and pesticides.
In my opinion, genetically modified plants if something that is needed on our planet. There are over seven billion people here on Earth, and we are well beyond capacity for food and water. We as humans need advanced technology to increase and better stabilized food consumption through genetically modified plants. Although GM plants haves health risk, the benefits can outweigh the risk. Lastly genetically modified plant crops through “pharma crops” can be used for vaccines to immunize people to fight infectious diseases.
Starr, Cecie, Evers, C. (05/2012). Biology Today and Tomorrow without Physiology, 4th
Edition. [VitalSource Bookshelf Online]. Retrieved from https://bookshelf.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781305850361https://bookshelf.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781305850361
Ahmed, F. E. (2004). Testing of Genetically Modified Organisms in Foods. New York: CRC
Cleveland, D. A., & Soleri, D. (2002). Farmers, Scientists, and Plant Breeding : Integrating
Knowledge and Practice. Wallingford, Oxon: CABI.