This is a cause and effect essay on the GMO topic. It traces the cause why GMO are developed. It also provides information on the effects of GMO to the society.
Organism or GMO are organisms whose genes are altered by scientists so that they will become super organism fit for a specific purpose. GMOs are science solution to World Hunger. Prior to GMO science, most people believe that the rapid growth of human population will outpace food production. With more people and limited food resources, there will be world hunger. However, the population of the world keeps on growing despite of the population control implemented by governments. The advances in medicine allowed low mortality rate among infant and longevity among adults resulting to population boom. As the world population continue to grow, land that could be used to grow crops are converted into communities thus reducing the capacity of the world to produce food enough to supply the growing population. Furthermore, crops and plants that humans use for food are seasonal which means they can only be produced at a particular time of the years, hence, limiting the capacity of humans to produce much needed crops. This again contributes to the problem of overpopulation and food shortage. In some cases, pest also destroys crops reducing agricultural yields which again contribute to the problem. If the population of the world continues to grow and the problems in food production is not solve world hunger is inevitable. To solve world hunger, scientists began modifying crops that could be mass produced and disease resistance. These new organism will overcome the problem of seasonality; hence they could be produce all year round. Thus Genetic scientists began looking for ways on how to produce crops that could be mass produced. They began collecting super genes from animals and insert them on plants.
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Solving World hunger is the immediate cause of GMO. The impending world huger motivates GMO scientists to revolutionize GMO science.
Through GMO, scientists were able to produce crops that are disease resistance, larger, and could be produce all year round. Consider the Bt. Corn. Corn yields are often times destroy by pest and bugs. Bugs eat corn stalks and leaves. They also eat the fruit and flowers. This compromises crop yield resulting to low production, livestock’s and humans rely on corn for food. If this problem is not solved, world hunger may ensue. Through genetic modification, scientists were able to insert the genes of a particular bacterium inside the genes of a corn (Ruen, 26). The bacterium is a soil dwelling bacteria called Bacillus Thuringiensis. This bacterium produces proteins that have insecticidal action. The gene that allows the bacterium to produce this protein is inserted into the genes of corn. The result is the BT corn, a corn that produces its own pesticides preventing bugs and insect attacks. The BT corn targets the corn borer, an insect that is responsible of about a billion dollar damage a year in Europe alone. BT corn is constantly modified to resist all other bugs corn ear worms and rod worms, which also cause multibillion dollars loss in crops production. Corn production is done all year round and produce increases several folds which could supply the world with the food it needs.
This is the effect of GMO, the mass production of food. With the availability of corn all year round, animal’s feeds are always available. The prices do not go up. Food for humans is always available and the world hunger that is postulated in the past is no longer viable.
Another immediate cause of GMO is under nourishment in many parts of the world. Some nutrients such as Vitamin A are inaccessible to various groups of people. This result to vitamin A deficiency and is estimated to kill 650,000 children each year (Black, 243).
Genetically modified rice are also developed to increase their nutrients, tolerate herbicides, increase grain size, accelerate photosynthesis and generate nutrients all designed for rapid production and mass consumption. The golden rice for example is genetically modified rice that produces vitamin A (Ye 303). This GMO rice is the solution to the vitamin A deficiency. Rice is a staple to over half of the world’s population making up 30-70 percent of energy intake among people in Asian countries. The Golden rice is the solution to this nutrient deficiency. This is the effect of GMO.
The effects of GMO seemed to be beneficial and positive. It solves crop shortage problem and nutrient deficiency. However, GMO has also negative effects. It attracted activists and pressure groups.
GMO imitated debates and controversies that result to the enactment of laws that will control its use. Government began implementing control on GMO use because of the advocacy of activists and pressure groups. They are known as opponents of GMO. Opponents of GMO questioned the safety of GMO food products. It is a new science but the products are already introduced in the market and for food consumption. There is no evidence that GMO is safe, to eat yet, they are being distributed and marketed all around the world. Cigarettes and Tobacco products were also considered safe in the past. Today, Cigarettes are universally accepted as harmful products. The same principle may be applied to GMO. Producers considered them safe. But no one will know until the risk is exposed. Opponents of GMO urge government to stop using GMO for consumer use.
This is one of the negative effects of GMO-controversy. It is safe or unsafe?
GMO has also hidden cause. GMO are developed to satisfy the hunger of businessmen to monopolize the agricultural industry. The producers of GMO are big corporations like Monsanto. Monsanto owns patent from the crops they sell to farmers. Farmers may buy the grain from Monsanto Farmers then plant the grains and harvest the crops but they cannot plant the seeds. They must sell all the produce and buy the seeds from Monsanto. Monsanto now control agriculture production. Farmers will forever buy grains from Monsanto. It is monopolistic capitalism.
The problem with monopolistic capitalism is that it put small farmers who do not want to conform to capitalism or to modernism. Traditional Families may use non-GMO seeds and plant them in the farmland. Their traditional values prevent them from buying GMO seeds. However, if their fields are adjacent to a farmer’s field with GMO grains from Monsanto, then their produced might get contaminated with GMO. Insect from both fields may transfer the pollens from GMO plant to non-GMO plant and vice versa (Wolfenbarger 290). As a result the Family that planted non-GMO crop will produce grains that have the GMO strain. This is GMO contamination. If Monsanto learned this, Monsanto will sue the family for infringing patents and the family may be force to pay damages. This will happen even if they did nothing. GMO companies are protected by patent laws that they could use for their advantage. They will virtually rule the planet because they have control of food production. Those who do not yield to their demands will suffer litigation.
Opponents also claim that consumers do not know that what they are buying in supermarkets contain GMO. If they don’t want GMO, they have no choice (Risler 288). Buddhist for example only eats plant based food because they believe that killing and eating animals is morally wrong and impedes their achievement of spirituality. However, most GMO contain animal DNA. This becomes a spiritual question and ethical dilemma to Buddhist, should they eat this kind of plant. Most Buddhists will not, but how could they know? To give consumers a choice, opponents of GMO have lobbied for policies that require labeling of products that contain GMO. Food products with GMO seal on it is a result of this policy. It is consumer protection and consumer choice. This is a neutral effect of GMO-policy making and consumer protection. The policies are set to give consumer choice if they don’t want to eat GMO containing food.
To conclude, the cause of GMO production is world hunger and malnourishment. GMOs were developed to solve these problems. They are the immediate cause of GMO. GMO has hidden cause also. Big Corporations allocate enormous amount of money to their GMO research facilities. The research and development facilities are able to produce patented crops. By producing patented crops and seeds, GMO companies have control over the agricultural industry of many nations. If they have control over agriculture, they will also have control over food production. The effects of GMO science and GMO production can be positive or negative. GMO led to the production of disease resistant and high yielding crops. It also led to the production of highly nutritious crops. These effects initially solve the problem of world hunger and nutrient deficiencies. These are the positive effects. The negative effects of GMO are the development of controversy, monopolistic capitalism and ethical dilemma of consumers. Everything depends on the value of a person and how he perceives benefits and risk. For this paper however, GMO is beneficial to the society.
Black Robert. Maternal and child under nutrition: global and regional exposures and health consequences, The Lancet, 371. 9608 (2008), p. 253.Print.
Ruen, Jim. BT corn borer trait needed? Corn & Soybean Digest; 76. 3 (2016) p24-26. Print.
Risler, John The Ecological Risks of Engineered Crops. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. 1996. Print.
Wolfenbarger Lindsey “”The ecological risks and benefits of genetically engineered plants””. Science 290.5 (2004): 288–93. Print.
Ye, Xudong; “”Engineering the Provitamin a (?-Carotene) Biosynthetic Pathway into (Carotenoid-Free) Rice Endosperm””. Science. 287. 5451 (2000): 303–05. Print.
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