Ryan Wallace Period 6

Potential Benefits

Potential benefits for agricultural productivity

  • Better resistance to stress: If crops were deliberately made to be made more resistant to pest outbreaks, through the use of pesticide and other solutions, it would prevent crop failure. This in turn, could be a benefits that will result in severe weather resistant organisms, but in accomplishing this it would take many multiple generations to achieve success.

  • Healthier food that will have more nutrition: With inserting genes into crops such as rice, it can increase the food value (nutrition). A great example that has been able to solve a problem is a crop known as Golden Rice that is able to produce vitamin A, which gives the consumer more vitamin A and is used in less developed countries. As rice feeds more than 50 percent of the world's population, it could help reduce vitamin A deficiency, which is a serious problem in the developing world.

  • Production of higher yielding animals: Genes that are inserted into cattle may raise their milk yield among other things.

Potential benefits for the environment

  • Less Land = More Food: Increased production of GMOs could possibly make more land available for living in the next century due to the less amont of land required for GMOs.

  • GMOs might reduce the environmental impact of food production and industrial processes: Genetically engineered resistance to pests and diseases could greatly reduce the chemicals needed for crop protection, and it is already happening. Farmers are growing maize, cotton and potatoes that no longer have to be sprayed with the bacterial insecticide Bacillus thuringiensis- because they produce its insecticidal agent themselves. Scientists are developing trees that have a lower content of lignin, a structuring constituent of woody plant cells. This could reduce the need for noxious chemicals in pulp and paper production. These developments could not only reduce environmental impact - they could also improve the health of farm and industrial workers.

  • Rehabilitation of damaged or less-fertile land: Large areas of cropland in the developing world have become saline by unsustainable irrigation practices. Genetic modification could produce salt-tolerant varieties. Trees might also be improved or modified to become more tolerant of salt and drought. They might also be selected or bred for rehabilitation of degraded land. While there is some advanced research in this area, salt and drought tolerance are the result of quite complex gene combinations, and positive results will take longer than those providing insecticide and herbicide resistance.

  • Bioremediation: Rehabilitation of damaged land may also become possible through organisms bred to restore nutrients and soil structure.

  • Longer shelf lives: The genetic modification of fruits and vegetables can make them less likely to spoil in storage or on the way to market. This could expand trade opportunities as well as reduce massive wastage incurred in transport and supply.

  • Biofuels: Organic matter could be bred to provide energy. Plant material fuel, or biomass, has enormous energy potential. For example, the waste from sugar cane or sorghum can provide energy, especially in rural areas. It may be possible to breed plants specifically for this purpose. And other unexpected, useful products could prove of huge value.

Potential Benefits for Human Health

  • Mystery solved by Genetic fingerprinting: "Fingerprinting" of animal and plant diseases is already possible. Fingerprinting's allow researchers to know exactly what an organism is by looking at its genetic blueprint. A benefit of genetic fingerprinting is a doctor that can check to see if you have a disease.

  • Vaccines and medicines: The use of molecular biology that is used to develop vaccines and medicines for farm animals has proving quite successful and holds great promise for the future.Vaccienes, proteins are currently able to be produced by plants. This process is called "pharming".

  • Identification of allergenic genes: Through the creation of GMOs allergic proteins are brought to light through the use of mapping out the organism.