Essay on GM Crops

1522 Words 7 Pages
GM Crops

In February 2004, Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett announced that commercial planting of some GM crops would commence in the United Kingdom following approval of genetically-modified maize within the scientific community. The Daily Mail responded to the announcement by stating that ‘the decision - by the Government's Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment - flies in the face of official polls showing 90 per cent of people oppose the genetic modification of crops and food’1. Gm crop production has remained a much debated subject within international politics and social discussion. Conflicting reports from the media which support and scrutinise the subject of
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A desired gene can be cut from DNA using restriction endonuclease enzymes, these enzymes produce staggered cuts, resulting in the formation of sticky ends. The advantage of sticky ends is that they will bind by base pairing to identical sticky ends in a vector (gene carrier) before being introduced to the host cell. Genetic modification however, does not always involve the transfer of genes between organisms. Existing genes can be altered i.e. changing how a gene works by 'switching it off' to prevent something occurring, the gene for softening fruit for example, subsequently improving storage time and allowing successful trasportation.2.

The agricultural advantages that result from gene technology and resulting GMOs include improved resistance, to pests, bacterial, fungal or viral diseases, improved resistance to herbicides so that crop plants are unaffected by the herbicidal products used to control weeds. Reduced use of pesticides and herbicides has environmental benefits. GM plants can also be developed for removing toxic chemicals from soils and therefore reclaiming previously inhabitable land for crop growth.

The socioeconomic advantages of the genetic modification of crops include tackling poverty and starvation in the third world, whilst overcoming the issue of a rising global population that is estimated to reach nine

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