Are gmos good for agriculture

Some benefits of genetic engineering in agriculture are increased crop yields, reduced costs for food or drug production, reduced need for pesticides, enhanced nutrient composition and food quality, resistance to pests and disease, greater food security, and medical benefits to the world’s growing population.


Why we should have GMOs?

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Are GMOs bad for You?

What are the 10 advantages of genetically modified organisms?

  • They offer more useful knowledge for genetics. …
  • They allow for more profit. …
  • They add more value to crops. …
  • They are known to decrease the prices of food. …
  • They yield products that are found to be safe.

What is the reason farmers cultivate GMO crops?

GMOs are good because they provide another tool that farmers can employ to help conserve water. Herbicide tolerant GM crops along with conservation tillage aid in soil moisture retention, which can reduce the need to irrigate. But, GMOs can help reduce water use in another way – drought tolerance.

Are GMOs good for farmers?

Why are GMOs bad for agriculture?

GMO agriculture has led to superweeds and superpests that are extraordinarily difficult for farmers to manage. Farmers affected by resistant pests must revert to older and more toxic chemicals, more labor or more intensive tillage, which overshadow the promised benefits of GMO technology.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of GMOs in agriculture?

The pros of GMO crops are that they may contain more nutrients, are grown with fewer pesticides, and are usually cheaper than their non-GMO counterparts. The cons of GMO foods are that they may cause allergic reactions because of their altered DNA and they may increase antibiotic resistance.

What are some of the benefits of GMOs to sustainable agriculture?

Many GMO crops grow better than their non-GMO counterparts under environmental stresses and are thus able to ward off crop diseases and pests. GMO crops can grow with less water, energy and pesticides—all environmentally sustainable benefits. From a productivity standpoint, GMO crops also support food system workers.

How can GMOs benefit farmers and consumers?

Because they require fewer pesticides, land and water, GMOs help keep food production costs down resulting in lower prices for consumers. GM technology helps reduce the price of crops used for food, such as corn, soybeans and sugar beets by as much as 15-30%.

Do farmers like GMOs?

GMO seeds are overwhelmingly embraced by American farmers. Roughly 90 percent of corn, cotton, and soybeans grown in the U.S. are improved using biotechnology to help farmers manage devastating insects, weeds, and weather conditions.

What are the positive impacts of GMOs?

Some benefits of genetic engineering in agriculture are increased crop yields, reduced costs for food or drug production, reduced need for pesticides, enhanced nutrient composition and food quality, resistance to pests and disease, greater food security, and medical benefits to the world’s growing population.

Are GMOs good or bad for the environment?

Research indicates that GM crop technology can result in a net increase in herbicide use and can foster the growth of herbicide resistant weeds. In addition, there is concern that the use of GM crops may negatively impact the agriculture ecosystem.

What Are GMOs?

The term Genetically-Modified Organism is amorphous and somewhat imprecise. All of our crops and livestock are GMOs in that their genetics have been manipulated and designed by man over the last 10,000 years or more. This has occurred to such an extent that most barely resemble their wild progenitors. The majority could not compete or survive long outside of an agricultural setting. The FAO and the European Commission define a GMO, and the products thereof, as being plants or animals that are produced through techniques in which the genetic material has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating and/or natural recombination. Although this is a closer description of what is meant in the general usage of the term GMO, it would also encompass several crops that have long been accepted as conventional, e.g., Triticale. Triticale is a grain crop commonly used in bread and pasta that was developed to offer a more nutritious food source (higher protein and low gluten). It is totally “man-made.” It was first developed in the laboratory in 1884 by crossing wheat with rye to form a sterile hybrid which would not survive in nature. To produce the crop, fertility had to be restored, and this was achieved by chromosome doubling to form a stable polyploid plant with two copies of each of the parental genomes (rye and wheat). 15 This was achieved in the late 1930s using in vitro culture technology and treatment of embryos with the chemical colchicine, which interferes with the normal process of cell division (mitosis) to generate polyploid cells. Clearly, this is a crop that would fit the FAO definition of a GMO but it is not designated as such. Perhaps a better definition would be a modification to The Cartagena Protocol 16 definition for “living modified organisms,” which would then read, “Genetic Modified Organism” means any living organism that possesses a novel combination of genetic material obtained through the use of modern biotechnology.

Why are people against GMOs?

The reasons for this opposition are complex and multifaceted, but from what is articulated and communicated by those who oppose GMOs, they are based on the perception that such crops pose an unacceptable risk to both human health and the environment. Such sentiment exists even though there have been no adverse health or environmental affects from the almost four billion acres of GMO crops grown since their introduction in 1996. Several National Research Council committees and European Commissions (as well as joint commissions) have concluded that with the extensive scientific inquiry into the safety issues surrounding the adoption of GM crops, genetic engineering using biotechnology is no different from conventional breeding in terms of unintended consequences to the environment or animal and human health. 33 The European Commission funded more 50 research programs from 2001–2010 to address concerns regarding the use of GM crops to reach this same determination. 34 Nicolia et al. 24 constructed a database of 1,783 scientific original research papers, reviews, relevant opinion articles, and reports published between 2002 and October of 2010 on GMO safety issues, and reviewed the contents to generate a comprehensive overview of the accumulated knowledge. The overall conclusion of this mammoth undertaking was that “the scientific research conducted so far has not detected any significant hazards directly connected with the use of GM crops.

How long has GM been around?

It has been thirty years since the first genetically engineered plants were generated, and it has been eighteen years since the first introduction of a transgenic crop into U.S. agriculture. Since their emergence the acreage planted with GM crops has steadily increased such that in 2013, 433 million acres (175.2 hectares) of land were dedicated to their production, 56% of which were grown in developing countries. 28 As of 2013, a total more than four billion acres of GMA crops have been grown in 27 countries world-wide, primarily in corn, soybean and cotton, although new crops are being introduced at an increasing rate. The economic benefits of the deployment of these crops have been substantial. Mannion and Morse 29 report that on a global level, from 1996 to 2006, GM crops increased farm income by $40.7 billion, occurring in both developed (47%) and developing agricultures (53%). In the following six years (as of 2012) the global increase in farm income from GM crops had almost tripled that of the previous 10 years to reach $116 billion. 28, 30 Both studies estimate that 42% of this economic gain is derived from the increased yield associated with lower weed and pest damage as well as superior genetics. The remaining 58% accrued from a decrease in production costs (decreased herbicide and pesticide costs and a reduction in tillage). These figures indicate that the underlying agronomic benefits derived from GM crops are equally impressive: with a global yield increase of 377 million tons from 1996 to 2012. In 2012 the increase in yield attributed to GM crops for the U.S. was 47 million tons. 28, 30 Brooks and Barfoot 30 estimate that to attain an equal yield increase to that delivered by GM crops between 1996 and 2012, an additional 303 million acres (123 million hectares) of conventional crops would have been required. As James 28 postulates that to attain this extra land industrial nations would have to use marginal lands that are generally characterized by poor soils (requiring substantial inputs such as fertilizer and irrigation) and developing countries would primarily target tropical forests. Certainly such an added conversion of land to agricultural purposes would have serious ecological and environmental impacts regardless of what part of the world it is acquired.

How does GM affect biodiversity?

The adoption of GM herbicide tolerant crops does alter the biodiversity of plant populations (weeds) in agricultural ecosystems and some of the insects and other organisms that rely upon them but this is related to weed management and herbicide use not the GM crop. Alterations in biodiversity also occur in conventional agriculture where weed management strategies are employed. 48 Nevertheless there is great deal of evidence that the adoption of GM herbicide tolerant crops has had a beneficial impact on the environment. The conversion of natural habitat and ecosystems to urban development and agriculture is clearly the most detrimental aspect of human activity as it relates to environmental impact and loss of biodiversity. As yields increase with the adoption of GM crops, as discussed previously, the need to dedicate land for agriculture decreases. Apart from the reduced conversion of land to agricultural use the emergence of GM herbicide tolerant crops has accelerated and enabled the adoption of conservative tillage (no-till and reduced-till) practices. 30, 45, 48 Such practices enhance soil quality, reduce water run-off, conserves nutrients, increases water infiltration, and contributes to a reduction in greenhouse gases.

What is the challenge of GM crops?

To meet the challenge of improving yields requires a constant commitment to generating a steady supply of improved cultivars and lines for all major crops. Conventional breeding cannot keep pace with what is required; to meet the targets biotechnology and the production of genetically-modified (GM) crops is filling the gap. However, there are still concerns as to the safety of GM crops for human consumption and the environment. In this review I explore the need for GM crops, the way they are produced, and their impact and safety.

How does genetic breeding work?

Conventional breeding relies on the introduction of new traits/genes into existing cultivars or commercial lines by sexual crosses i.e. crossing of one parental line with a second parental line that is expressing the desired trait (disease resistance, drought tolerance etc). Such a cross results in progeny that have inherited a complete set of genes from both parents so that although they have inherited the desired trait they have inherited a multitude of others, some of which may not be desirable and may reduce yield (a phenomenon called yield drag). To reduce yield drag breeders select progeny that best express the desired trait and cross it back to one of the parent plants in order to dilute out the negative traits inherited in the first cross (backcross). Through several iterations of this backcrossing scheme breeders eventually end up with a high yielding line that carries the desired trait. To achieve this requires many generations and several years (10 to 15years for wheat depending on the starting material) before lines can be tested in an agronomic setting or, as in the case for corn, used as a parental line in the production of commercial hybrids. Conventional breeding is also limited to what genetic variation is available in the gene pool of the crop or in a close relative that is sexually compatible. The search for genetic variation (gene variants) that can impact yield and productivity becomes more and more difficult and the incremental increases in yield become smaller and smaller with time. Yield is a complex phenotype and is the sum of the activity of a multitude of genes and rarely lends itself to rapid yield gains. Norman Borlaug’s lines dramatically altered crop yields not only by increasing the number of seeds per plants but also by adapting the plants to mechanized and high density cropping systems. Modern conventional breeding programs use varieties that are well adapted to modern production agriculture and thus yield gains based solely on plant performance are not as dramatic as those witnessed in the “Green Revolution” ( ).

What is the future of GM?

The future is very promising for GM technologies to enhance our efforts to meet the future global needs for food , feed and fiber in a sustainable and responsible way. Conventional breeding methods, especially with the advent of genome level technologies, that are designed to both generate and exploit genetic variation in order to isolate effective alleles (variants) of genes that generate yield increases, disease resistance, pest resistance etc., also clearly play a role in this effort. Organic farming practices also have a place at the global table 63 where such practices make sense. Agriculture is a diverse endeavor, and if we are to be successful we need to embrace that diversity.

Why is corn a GMO?

Corn is the most commonly grown crop in the United States, and most of it is GMO. Most GMO corn is created to resist insect pests or tolerate herbicides. Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) corn is a GMO corn that produces proteins that are toxic to certain insect pests but not to humans, pets, livestock, or other animals. These are the same types of proteins that organic farmers use to control insect pests, and they do not harm other, beneficial insects such as ladybugs. GMO Bt corn reduces the need for spraying insecticides while still preventing insect damage. While a lot of GMO corn goes into processed foods and drinks, most of it is used to feed livestock, like cows, and poultry, like chickens.

Why are potatoes GMO?

Some GMO potatoes were developed to resist insect pests and disease. In addition, some GMO potato varieties have been developed to resist bruising and browning that can occur when potatoes are packaged, stored, and transported, or even cut in your kitchen.

What GMO crops are grown and sold in the United States?

Only a few types of GMO crops are grown in the United States, but some of these GMOs make up a large percentage of the crop grown (e.g., soybeans, corn, sugar beets, canola, and cotton).

What about animals that eat food made from GMO crops?

More than 95% of animals used for meat and dairy in the United States eat GMO crops. Independent studies show that there is no difference in how GMO and non-GMO foods affect the health and safety of animals. The DNA in the GMO food does not transfer to the animal that eats it. This means that animals that eat GMO food do not turn into GMOs. If it did, an animal would have the DNA of any food it ate, GMO or not. In other words, cows do not become the grass they eat and chickens don’t become the corn they eat.

Are GMOs used to make anything besides food?

When you hear the term “GMO” you probably think of food. However, techniques used to create GMOs are important in creating some medicines as well. In fact, genetic engineering, which is the process used to create GMOs, was first used to make human insulin, a medicine used to treat diabetes. Medicines developed through genetic engineering go through an in-depth FDA approval process. All medicines must be proven to be safe and effective before they are approved for human use. GMOs are also used in the textile industry. Some GMO cotton plants are used to create cotton fiber that is then used to make fabric for clothing and other materials.

What is the name of the GMO that wiped out the papaya crop?

Papaya: By the 1990s, ringspot virus disease had nearly wiped out Hawaii’s papaya crop, and in the process almost destroyed the papaya industry in Hawaii. A GMO papaya, named the Rainbow papaya, was created to resist ringspot virus. This GMO saved papaya farming on the Hawaiian Islands.

Why are sugar beets used in grocery stores?

More than half the granulated sugar packaged for grocery store shelves is made from GMO sugar beets. Because GMO sugar beets are resistant to herbicides, growing GMO sugar beets helps farmers control weeds in their fields.

What is GMO in agriculture?

Definition. Pros. Cons. Identification. Bottom line. GMOs, short for genetically modified organisms, are subject to a lot of controversy. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), GMO seeds are used to plant over 90% of all maize (corn), cotton, and soy grown in the United States, which means that many of the foods you eat likely …

What are GMO crops?

GMO crops grown and sold in the United States include corn, soybean, canola, sugar beet, alfalfa, cotton, potatoes, papaya, summer squash, and a few apple varieties ( 29. Trusted Source. ). In the United States, no regulations currently mandate the labeling of GMO foods.

What are some examples of GMO crops?

For example, one of the most common GMO crops is Bt corn, which is genetically modified to produce the insecticide Bt toxin. By making this toxin, the corn is able to resist pests, reducing the need for pesticides ( 3 ).

How much has GMO technology reduced pesticide use?

In fact, an analysis of 147 studies from 2014 found that GMO technology has reduced chemical pesticide use by 37% and increased crop yields by 22% ( 8 ).

Why was the GMO study retracted?

However, this study was later retracted because it was poorly designed ( 18, 19, 20 ).

How much of food in supermarkets is genetically modified?

In fact, it’s estimated that up to 80% of foods in supermarkets contain ingredients that come from genetically modified crops.

Why is Roundup used on crops?

This has led to even more Roundup being sprayed on crops to kill the resistant weed s because they can affect the crop harvest ( 22, 23, 24 ).

How does GMO affect the environment?

Many concerns have been raised for the environment: the capability of a GMO to escape from confinement and therefore potentially to transfer engineered genes into wild populations, the persistence of the gene after a GMO has been harvested, the susceptibility of non-target organisms to the gene product, the instability of new genes, the reduction of the spectrum of other plants resulting in a significant loss of biodiversity and an increase in the use of chemicals in agriculture. As for human health, the main concerns have been the possibility of a transfer of allergens into the new foods, the gene transfer from GM foods to human cells or to bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, which can cause worries especially transferred genetic material proved to adversely affect human health the transfer of genes from GM plants into conventional crops or related species in the wild, as well as the mixing of GM crops with those derived from conventional seeds, that could have an indirect effect on food safety and food security.

Why are GM crops important?

Supporters also consider GM crops indispensable in facing the severe global food and nutrition security problem in developing countries: although GM crops are not presented as the “absolute solution”, it has been stated that they could undoubtedly make a significant contribution to an array of measurements and incentives to this constantly growing problem (Conner et al. 2003).

What are the benefits of GM crops?

It is generally acknowledged that first-generation GM crops provide higher yields with fewer inputs (principally fuel and pesticides), which has important economic benefits for the agricultural industry in the industrialized world, but the more significant positive effects are seen in the developing world where GM crops allow subsistence farmers not only to survive but to take surplus produce to market, providing additional wealth that supports education, improves access to medicines, and leads to the empowerment of women (Christou and Twyman 2004; Yuan et al. 2011). However, the hysterical anti-GM activism and the resulting political expediency is seriously delaying this process, particularly by holding back the deployment of newer first-generation GM crops that are protected from drought, salinity and better suited to grow in hostile environments, as well as second-generation GM crops that have enhanced output traits such as better nutritional composition (Farre et al. 2011b). The industrialized world has the luxury of choice, at least for the time being, but in the developing world GM crops could turn the tide against plant diseases and pests, eliminate damaging agricultural practices, reduce hunger and malnutrition and produce cheap medicines in response to some of the world’s most pressing socioeconomic concerns (Farre et al. 2010; Gómez-Galera et al. 2010). It is no exaggeration to say that the anti-GM precedent currently set by Europe is indirectly contributing to death on a massive scale in Africa and Asia (Potrykus 2010).

How does the introduction of foreign genes affect human health?

The introduction of foreign genes into food plants has been considered to have an unexpected and negative impact on human health, in particular for the introduction of new allergens and/or for the effects of possible horizontal gene flow or any other unknown and uncontrollable effect of the transferred gene. On the other hand, future GM organisms are likely to include plants with increased nutrient levels, plants producing pharmaceutically important molecules and plants with improved resistance to diseases, cold, or drought, thus suitable for increasing food security in disadvantaged areas. Are GMOs, then, a risk or a potential benefit for human health?

Who is the scientist who is sceptical about GMOs?

Within this picture, seven different questions were posed to two scientists representing the two different points of view: Prof. Marcello Buiatti (Dept of Genetics at the University of Florence, Italy), who is sceptical about the use of GMOs in agriculture, and Prof. Paul Christou (Dept. of Plant Production and Forestery Sciences, University of Lleida, Spain), who represents those who view GMOs as an important tool for quantitatively and qualitatively improving food production.

When did GMOs become public?

Since the mid-1990s, the release of GMOs into the environment and the marketing of foods derived from GM crops has resulted in a scientific and public debate. Despite the potential benefits of the application of genetic engineering in agriculture in order to improve the quality and the reliability of the food supply, since the beginning, public and scientific concerns have been raised in many parts of the world about environmental and food safety of GM crops.

When did the EU ban GMOs?

In the EU, strong public concerns about GMOs triggered the imposition in October 1998 of a de facto moratoriumon the authorization of new releases of GMOs in the European Union, and even stricter standards were proposed in the EU’s revised Directive 90/220 of August 2000. Before the imposition of the moratorium, releases of GMOs were reviewed on a case-by-case basis and had to be approved at every step from laboratory testing through field testing to final marketing. By contrast, the permit procedure in the United States is far simpler and faster.

How can GMOs help farmers?

Dr. Ronald gave an example of farmers in Bangladesh growing eggplant. Previously, farmers needed to spray insecticide several times a week during the growing season to save the crop from destructive insects. In recent years, they have planted a genetically modified eggplant seed that contains a gene from a bacteria that prevents the insects from reproducing. As a result, the farmers use much less insecticide spray, the crops have yielded more eggplant from the same amount of land and families have a better income. You can learn more about it in Dr. Ronald’s Ted Talk.

Why are GMOs less natural?

Some perceive that food produced through GMOs is less natural, because of the modification process and introduction of genetic material not native to the original organism. Some people have concerns that genes from the modified plants or animals could transfer to other organisms. There are also concerns that farmers’ reliance on certain types of GMOs could contribute to biodiversity loss or cause over-production.

What is GMO technology?

Many experts concur that GMO technology offers tools and solutions that farmers can use to make food production more sustainable.

How are genetically modified plants and animals developed?

Genetically engineered plants or animals, often called GMOs, were developed through biotechnology and often carry genes from a bacteria or virus. Biotechnology has been used to help crops better withstand drought, be resistant to insects or be better suited to control weeds. Genetic modifications can help animals to better utilize the feed they eat.

Why do farmers need seeds?

When farmers have access to a variety of tools or techniques, they can choose the ones that work best for each crop, for each location and for each situation. “All farmers rely on seeds to grow their crops, and farmers are looking for seeds that help make agriculture more productive and sustainable,” Dr. Ronald said.

Is biotech food safe to eat?

First, Dr. Ronald said the biotech foods are safe to grow and to eat. “There’s no question about that. They’ve been planted for 25 years now,” she said. “They have reduced the use of chemical insecticide, and I think that’s really important for people to know.”. Find out more about GMOs and human health.

Is biotechnology a one size fits all solution?

Biotechnology should not be viewed as a one-size-fits all solution to farming challenges. It must be managed in conjunction with other techniques.

Why are GMOs used in agriculture?

GMOs in agriculture are used as tools for research and production of molecules of interest. In addition, transgenesis allows plants to be modified to give them new traits in order to improve production and product resistance. This method is faster than traditional varietal selection but can be harmful for environment.

Why are GMOs bad for us?

In fact with GMOs we lose more varieties of vegetables and fruits than the number we produce. Gathering every “useful” characteristic means having only one type of tomato, or salad, resistant to every insects and viruses. This “monoculture” is the main problem linked to GMOs and is one enormous source of species extinction.

Why is Monsanto so important?

As Monsanto started to focus more on biotechnology, the company used “feeding the world hunger” as one of the main reasons behind the need for GMOs. Monsanto also invented a new genetically modified crop that was resistant to its best selling herbicide Roundup.

When were GMOs invented?

The Birth of Modern Genetic Modification. An enormous breakthrough in GMO technology came in 1973, when Herbert Boyer and Stanley Cohen worked together to engineer the first successful genetically engineered (GE) organism.

What foods are genetically engineered?

More than 60% of all processed foods on the supermarket shelves—including pizza, chips, cookies, ice cream, salad dressing, corn syrup, and baking powder—contain ingredients from engineered soybeans, corn, or canola.

What was Monsanto’s main product?

Following the Second World War, Monsanto championed the use of chemical pesticides in agriculture. Its major agrochemical products have included the herbicides 2,4,5-T, DDT, Lasso and Agent Orange, which was widely used as a defoliant by the U.S.

How many different crop designs have passed through the federal review process?

More than 50 different “designer” crops have passed through a federal review process, and about a hundred more are undergoing field trials.

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