In today’s world one-third of the world’s food is wasted – that is around 795 million people who do not get sufficient food to have a healthy life. Food is wasted in many different ways, however, many people do not realize how much is lost before it even gets to the store. This is due to lack of knowledge, efficient transportation, and storage. How can we better feed others and fix this abundance of food loss? One way to solve this problem is by using genetically modified organisms (GMOs). GMOs can change the way a crop works and can, overall, give us a better advantage to increasing the amount of food we have stored. In the following paragraphs, we will discuss different ways a GMO can be utilized to benefit world hunger and reduce food loss.
GMO stands for “genetically modified organism”, which is an organism that has been altered by using genetic engineering methods. This method used in crops is very controversial, but it if is done successfully, it can be very beneficial to our agriculture sustainability. To make a GMO, one must identify a trait of interest, isolate that trait, insert that trait into a desired organism, and then propagate that organism. To identify a trait of interest, one must find the problem within that crop (e.g. if a fruit ripens too quickly). Then, look at other crops that carry that specific trait and copy those genes. To isolate a trait, one must use comparative analysis to decode the organism’s genetic makeup that make the trait of interest. To insert the specified gene, bacteria encoded with the trait are mainly used to invade and alter the genetic makeup of the desired organism. To be classified as a GMO, the organism must be genetically altered and created with modified engineering. This does not include selective breeding and animals/plants being given supplements. Using this method to alter crops can greatly affect the outcome of production and nutrition in today’s agriculture. Intro sentence.
Another example of a successful GMO would be corn that has been genetically altered to be insect resistant. We lose about 40% of maize due to pests, therefore harvesting a pest-resistant corn is very beneficial. Insects currently affected by the genetically modified corn include: moths, butterflies, corn borers, and corn worms. These pests influence stalk rot and ear rot disease, which are extremely harmful and deadly to corn plants. Some consumers raise concerns about the safety of this corn and what benefits we would get from it. Gary Munkvold from APS says, “One aspect of risk/benefit analysis is the influence that Bt technology may have on corn diseases and mycotoxin-producing fungi in corn”. This aspect plays a big part in the safety of using a GMO. Fusarium ear rot is the most common ear rot disease in corn and can be found in almost every harvest. This disease produces toxins that are highly fatal to horses and pigs, and is a probable human carcinogen; symptoms are usually related to corn borer and earworm. The use of genetically modified maize would assist in terminating this crop-bound disease, thus, helping to eliminate risks to human/animal health. Altogether, genetically modified corn would not only produce a greater yield of corn, but actually be beneficial to our health. Limitations include keeping watch on corn with the GMO, some insects are affected more than others, and parts of the world are different.
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