Essay on The Economic And Environmental Costs And Benefits

1644 Words Dec 13th, 2015 7 Pages
Crossing certain crops to induce certain traits in offspring is not a new process. In fact, farmers around the world have used conventional breeding practices such as artificial selection to produce higher-yielding crops for centuries. Those practices were not frowned upon, but instead considered necessary if agriculture was to continue to support the world’s growing population. Today, we face a similar problem. The Earth’s population is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, and world agricultural production needs to rise 50% to accommodate that growth (Royal Society)1. Fortunately, advances in biotechnology have allowed humans to manipulate the genetic material of crops to create more productive variants. However, these genetically engineered or genetically modified (GM) crops have received a mixed reception worldwide2. This controversy stems from differences in the perceived risks and benefits of these crops in different parts of the world, particularly in the United States and Europe. This paper seeks to explain the diverging opinions surrounding GM crops by examining evidence of the economic and environmental costs and benefits associated with their use. Only once we have separated scientific fact from unfounded opinion can we make the proper decision regarding GM crops and their future role in our world. Genetic engineering offers advantages over the conventional breeding practices that preceded it. Those processes introduced an unpredictable number of uncharacterized…

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