Blog #5

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I thought the Norman Borlaug article "Ending World Hunger" was interesting because he provides ways that we can help potentially feed the world by using genetically modified organisms. To potentially crate new crops that are resistant to pests, more nutritious, environmentally friendly etc.  In many ways it was interesting because GMO may be the only way that we have to create more and more food for a growing population. If don't have any real alternative solutions, we may not have a choice but to use GMOs.

Some the issues I have with Borlaug was that he didn't adequately approach the negatives of GMO's.  He says that no credible science reports have said there is a negative health effects to GMOs.  That may be true as of right now, but we just don't know. For instance, since GMOs are a relatively new technology what happens when we eat genetically modified foods during a full human lifetime?  We just don't know yet. Just because there has not had a negative effect on humans-doesn't mean that there won't be. Even though crossing over genes in organisms may occur in nature, it certainly not at the rate we are doing it.  Since GMO's are relatively new we are in essence being experimented on. Also, what about using the pesticides used kill bugs that are normal predators to the crops. Over time wouldn't these bugs become resistant to the pesticides? Wouldn't we just be creating some sort of super bug?

Even with these negatives, there is a lot of potential in GMOs and it may be part of a solution for countries less fortunate then us who may not have a choice.  Also it's important to look at other important issues with food such as food distribution rather than say the GMO's will solely solve hunger in the world.

 

5 Comments

You bring up interesting points about the possible rise of a super bug and the much needed emphasis on food distribution over GMOs. I believe that GMOs can be looked on as a technological fix, solve the problems now and worry about whatever happens later. Yet, someone who is starving in another part of the world may not worry about what might happen to them in the future because they might not live that long. I like the idea about food distribution because I have never really thought about it, but while that possibility is being introduced or modified, people need something that has been shown to provide possible solutions and provide. Although, I do agree that further research should be done on the long-term effects of GMOs, and not just settle for the ones already done.

I strongly believe that GMO's could be positive especially towards hunger. But more rearch has to be done. We really dont fully understand the effects that something of this magnitude could have on us. I also see GMO's as being a technological fix because it could relieve world hunger, but what about population control. The earth can only support so many people before it becomes self destructive. With the power of GMO's comes a responsibility to control population as well. So I do agree with GMO's, but there does need to be research done on long term affects. Can our bodies truely handle modified foods. And once we understand GMO's we then need to control other variables.

GMO's are the future - no doubt. Creating super bugs are a very real problem. I believe scientists should add multiple genes that result in the death of a particular pest in order to avoid this resistance.

Selection, the process of removing the weak from the strong or in this case, the non-resistant to the plant from the resistant could be increased with more toxins that are engineered into the plant for a particular pest. Whereas one toxin is a weak selective pressure, two or three offers a near impossibility of a pest surviving to create future generations of super bugs. It simply isn't in the dice; that bug would have to be resistant to two or three toxins at once instead of just one.

If this isn't done, bugs will become resistant much more quickly than if multiple toxins were engineered into the plant for a particular pest.

I agree that Borlaug does falls short on his criticism of the new GMOs. I think what concerns me most is that the genetic crosses are being made so rapidly that something is going to go wrong. Even if genetic crosses are made in nature there are millions of crosses that don't work before one succeeds. So I doubt that humans will be able to make the right crosses of plants and organisms every time without messing up nature's way of doing things. The consequences for messing it up may be small, but who knows if it could turn into a larger domino effect. I think the scientists working with the new transgenetic plants need to have a slow and calculated method so they have an idea of every outcome they create. Looking at the long term effects before reaping the short term rewards is much more important.

I also find problem with the fact that the human population seems to already be a giant testing site for genetically modified crops. It seems funny that we would flood the supermarkets with GMO crops without fully knowing their consequences because a lack of study. I think despite the fact that no studies show direct negative results we shouldn't be eating GMO crops. How can we test GMO crops on ourselves? What if there is a giant problem? It would affect thousands of Americans. I just don't think we should be eating GMO crops as much as we do without proper research.

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This page contains a single entry by menx0003 published on December 7, 2009 12:06 PM.

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