Transgenic Crops for Food
By: Christopher Chen
This word may sound very scientific, but it can be broken down into two parts. The prefix 'Trans-' comes from the Latin term for across, and the suffix '-genic' comes from the Greek word, gannan, which means gene. Now the term 'Transgenic' literally pertains to organisms that have obtained a foreign gene through an artificial process. Usually, genes are added in an attempt to make an organism more desirable. When it comes to crops, it follows the same process. You find which plant has the gene that you want. You find the plant that you want to have that gene. You splice down both organisms to their DNA sequences, then you transfer the gene you wanted into the crop you want to have it.
How are Transgenic Crops used Across America Today?
Corn | GMO? Yes
Corn is grown with added genes for increased insect & herbicide resistance.
Tomatoes | GMO? Yes
Tomatoes are grown with added genes for a delayed ripening time, to help preserve them.
Soybeans | GMO? Yes
Soybeans are grown with added genes for increased herbicide resistance.
- Crops can be modified to ward off pests, viruses and fungi, which leads to greater crop yields
- Less money spent on gallons, and gallons of chemical pesticide
- Toxicity levels in plants are lowered, due to their natural herbicide resistance
- Less insecticides are required, due to the crops' natural pest resistance
- Larger crop yields means cheaper and more food available
- All evidence so far shows that food grown from GMO's are not harmful to animals or humans
- Certain critics claim that GMO's can cause cancer and/or other illnesses
- Could be dangerous to the environment, due to the fact that a completely unrelated gene has been introduced into an environment
- Transferring a gene from an allergenic crop, such as from a peanut, can then make the crop it was transferred to allergenic
- Studies show that when Transgenic Soybeans are combined with Monsanto's glyphosate (Roundup), the rats that consumed it grew multiple tumors
How Are GMOs Created?
How Safe are GMO's?
Should Transgenic Crops be used Today?
Transgenic Crops are good! Even though there are a few risks, there is an overwhelming amount of evidence supporting the idea of using and embracing GMO's. Many farmers that are under the poverty line can turn to genetically enhanced crops and use them to get above that line. Not only does it help economically, it helps the Earth physically too. By using Transgenic Crops, the need for dangerous chemicals (herbicides) goes down greatly, and herbicides are currently one of the leading polluters of the environment.
Should Transgenic Crops be used in the Future?
Currently, many people across the world see the usage of Transgenic Crops as unethical, or unnatural. Yet all it takes is a little bit of scientific reason to know that they are as natural as the dirt you are standing on. Everything goes through genetic change; the only difference is that now we are controlling the change. The possible uses for this process in the future are endless. It can easily help in the fight against world hunger through the enhanced crops it can provide. The tomatoes for example have a longer lifespan because they have been modified to ripen later rather than sooner. Overall, Transgenic Crops are not currently accepted as being morally right, yet they will be soon once the public learns of all the benefits that comes with growing them. Their future has unlimited routes, from ending world hunger, to growing crops on Mars, the use of Transgenic Crops for food is infinite.