Pros And Cons Of Gmo Crops

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GMO Crops May Have Beneficial or Detrimental Effects on Small Farmers

Introduction: The United States Department of Agriculture defines a GMO crop as any plant used in agriculture in which a segment of the plants DNA have been genetically modified. This process is done using techniques of genetic engineering. Before genetically modified organisms were know as mainly being altered plants in the publics eye there was research on isolating genes of one species and transplanting it into another. In the year 1980 the first ever patent on a gmo was put into place on a bacteria made to “gobble up” oil. A few years later the FDA approved the first gmo for human consumption, called Humulin. In 1994 gmo food products were allowed into grocery stores
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Before dissecting the pros and cons of GMOs, it is important to note that the USDA defines a small farm as one that sells between one thousand and two hundred fifty thousand per year. Using this standard it was found that eighty-six percent of all farms in California are “small farms”( Dawson 2011).

PRO: One of the main headlines to attract small farmers to use GMO seeds is “ Produce more with less”. The rationale behind this is that a farmer can purchase GMO seeds and harvest a higher yield of product than normal seeds would produce. The use of these seeds may come with the added benefit of reducing the amount of chemical pesticides used. This can help save money as well as potentially benefit the soil. Many modified crops such as corn can be made to require less water. The reduce size of the crop and reduced water input directly cuts cost on both services as well as indirectly saving money by using less energy and gasoline in the form of minimal farm equipment
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Some of these potential disadvantages are allergic reactions, low levels of biodiversity, increased antibiotic resistance, “gene spilling”, legal pursuits and more. If a smaller farmer is growing and selling any crop that may induce a high rate of allergic reactions, this may decrease their profit due to people’s unwillingness to buy that product. Brown University says that proteins from some organisms may be added to others, causing a person allergic to one specific organism to be inoculated with their allergen unknowingly. Pesticide resistant crops such as BT cotton can be modified to be toxic to certain insects. The crops are mad using Bacillus Thuringiensis, allowing the plant to produce “cry toxins” (Gene Watch). The idea behind this being a bad practice is that insects will naturally be selected and reproduced based on their genes that will allow them to survive the toxin and these bugs will reproduce and so on creating resistant bugs and bacteria that will be harder to kill. These new insects may lead to a decrease in biodiversity in the soil due to the resistant organism being more likely to survive. Iowa State University says that some GMOS have antibiotic features that may cause immune viruses or disease in humans, causing known antibiotics to be less

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