By kekes, Updated
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With the development of technology, humans have become obsessed with modification. From body parts to hair color, enhancements have become the norm, with the latest victim being food. Genetically modified organisms have altered DNA that makes them superior to their counterparts due to increased disease resistance and nutritious value.
Combined, these elements are expected to fight off world hunger and malnutrition, a problem that plagues approximately 700 million people a year. Despite opposition due to theoretical safety concerns, the high yield rate of certain crops and superior nutritional benefits of genetically modified organisms make them a sustainable and practical solution to end world hunger.
One of the most notable factors of GMO's is their resistance to herbicides, which results in a significantly higher crop yield rate than non-transgenic plants. This is especially helpful during crop epidemics such as the papaya ringspot in Hawaii during which "...non transgenic plants in the field trial were a stunted mess and the transgenic plants were healthy" (Source A) It is also helpful in situations where the environment is plagued with crop ravishers such as ear and cut worms, which in turn causes a yield rate 38% lower than that of GMOs. (Source F)
The fact that these microorganisms can survive virtually any kind of habitat makes them more likely to succeed, thus making the supply of crops higher. The growing population brings forth a growing demand for food and the use of GMO’s satisfies this requirement. Additionally, an increase in supply will decrease the price of the crops due to the surplus, thus making it more accessible to the lower class and those susceptible to malnutrition. In the long run, these superior crops will create hybrids with the altered gene, thus building an army of quality crops that bring a sustainable solution to the growing hunger problem.
In addition to their strong immunities, the microorganisms can also be altered in order to hold more nutritional value than their original forms. It was discovered that rice, one of the world’s most versatile foods, can be modified to include more beta-carotene, a building block of vitamin A. This is an innovative solution for the "... millions of children who die every year because they are weakened by a vitamin A deficiency." (Source A). Researchers are continuing to catalog genomes at a ravishing speed in order to understand crops such as wheat, and find all the possible nutritional combinations. In fact, scientists have “sequenced the first and toughest of wheat’s 20 chromosomes.” (Source F) This fact proves that further growth and development of GMO’s are much more attainable than what is portrayed by the opposition. Practicality is not a valid argument because the modified crops not only provide more nutrition than what is available in naturally occurring foods, but are in fact much closer to reality than what one may imagine.
Despite the numerous benefits of modified organisms, many people and countries have reservations about embracing genetic modification to the threat it can pose to farmers and consumers. Initial disputes are state that the consumption of GMO’s can pass on harmful genes to human beings when in fact, there is no scientific research to back up the transfer of genetic material to the people eating the crops, thus making the argument purely theoretical. There is also research that there is a correlation between glyphosate, a chemical herbicide commonly used in genetically engineered crops ,and autism, although it does not specifically state that the connection exists in regards to food consumption, and the research does not account for other, more scientifically proven factors that can lead to autism. In addition to this, some may argue that because of extreme resistance of the modified plants to the harmful effects of chemicals, farmers are at more risk of coming into contact with a heavy dosage of pesticides when in fact the increased protection against pests themselves has “…has increased farmer safety by allowing them to use less pesticide.” (Source C) The lack of contact with pesticides proves to be beneficial for both the farmer and the consumer as their produce will be facing less contact with chemicals as well.
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