Help End The Use Of GMOs!

Ryan Wallace Period 6

Potential negative effects on the environment

Potential negative effects on the environment

  • Genes can end up in unexpected places:Through The genes can go through a phase called gene escape which through thisthey can pass pass unwanted genetics to other species. Problems resulting through this cause herbicide/pesticide resisitenc genes that are meant to be for the killing of the weeds.

  • Genes can mutate with harmful effect: With the insertion of genes in to an organism it is disputed whether or not it is able to encourage mutations or whether the inserted gene itself will keep stable in the plant over generations.

  • "Sleeper" genes could be accidentally switched on and active genes could become "silent": Organisms that are under certain conditions contain genes that are able to be awakened. The insertion of a new gene, a promoter genes, switches it on. By doing this it could activate a gene that is not normally expressed.

  • Interaction with wild and native populations:GMOs could start to compete with the wild species or able to reproduce. THe introduction of GMO crops into the wild could pose a significant threat to crop biodiversity. In addition, GMO crops could compete with and substitute traditional crops that have been used by famers for many years.

Potential negative effects on human health

  • Mixing of GM products in the food chain: Unauthorized An unintentional consequence of GMO products that appear in the food chain can result in the accidental use in products that are for humans. Even though, there is so scientific evidence of GMO being dangerous to humans, there has been potential processing controls put in place so t would not happen in the future.

  • Transfer of antibiotic resistance: Genes that confer antibiotic resistance are inserted into GMOs as "markers" to indicate that the process of gene transfer has succeeded. Concerns have been expressed about the possibility that these "marker genes" could confer resistance to antibiotics. This approach is now being replaced with the use of marker genes that avoid medical or environmental hazards.

Potential socio-economic effects

  • Loss of farmers' access to plant material:Biotechnology research is carried out predominantly by the private sector and there are concerns about market dominance in the agricultural sector by a few powerful companies. This could have a negative impact on small-scale farmers all over the world. Farmers fear that they might even have to pay for crop varieties bred from genetic material that originally came from their own fields when they buy seeds from companies holding patents on specific genetic modification "events". Some argue that the World Trade Organization's agreement on Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) encourages this, but there are options to protect farmers' traditional practices within that agreement. Also, the new International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture recognizes the contributions of farmers to the conservation and use of plant genetic resources over time and for future generations. It provides for an international framework to regulate access to plant genetic resources and establishes a mechanism to share the benefits derived from their use.

  • Intellectual property rights could slow research: The proprietary nature of biotechnology products and processes may prevent their access for public-sector research. This might have a stronger negative impact in developing countries where no private research initiatives are in place. In addition, most developing countries still do not provide patent protection to biotechnological products and technologies. Because patents have a national scope, the entry of products developed through proprietary biotechnologies could be prevented in those external markets where patent protection exists.

  • Impact of "terminator" technologies: Although these are still under development and have not yet been commercialized, they would, if applied, prevent a crop from being grown the following year from its own seed. This means that farmers could not save seeds for planting the next season. Some believe that this technology, also known as the Technology Protection System, could have the advantage of preventing out-crossing of GM seeds.

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