Genetically Modified Crops Advantages and Disadvantages | Advantages and Disadvantages of GM Crops

Genetically Modified Crops Advantages and Disadvantages: Genetically Modified organisms are living things whose genetic material has been altered through genetic engineering. Genetically Modified Crops are those whose DNA has been adjusted to have specific characteristics using genetic engineering procedures. Usually, crops like potatoes or corns are used for modification to increase the amount of their production. Genetically Modified Crops are mainly used for farming.

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What are Genetically Modified Crops? Advantages and Disadvantages of Genetically Modified Crops 2022

Formant years, human beings have been modifying the genetics of crops and plants using the slow method of cross-breeding among crops. The primary purpose of creating such crops is to incorporate a new characteristic in the crop which does not naturally occur in the species.

There is a high chance that you have consumed Genetically Modified Crops because, in the year 2018, about 94% of soybean and 92% of corn were grown using genetically modified seeds.

The creation of a Genetically Modified Crop is complex. The process requires:

  1. Identification of a plant that has a specific characteristic.
  2. Then copies of the genes of this particular plant are made in the lab.
  3. Next, these genes are inserted into the DNA of the cell of another plant. For transferring DNA, two kinds of techniques are used.
  4. The first technique consists of coating the surface of a particular metal particle with the DNA and then bombarding the particles into the plant’s cell.
  5. The second technique consists of the usage of viruses or bacteria. There are various bacteria and viruses for transferring DNA into the cell of a plant, but for genetically modified crops, a bacterium called Agrobacterium tumefaciens is used.
  6. These cells that are now modified are used for growing new plants with that specific characteristic. These new plants, before selling to farmers, will go through various tests and reviews.

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Advantages of Genetically Modified Crops

According to a biomedical researcher, genetically modified crops are designed to be extra fast-growing, extra resistant to pests, and extra healthy. Scientists select the best characteristics to include in Genetically Modified Crops, and hence there are many advantages to it. They are:

  1. Fewer pesticides: Genetically Modified Crops are altered so that they are less susceptible to pests and insects. These crops come with a natural pesticide, and hence there is no need for spraying harmful pesticides. Since few pesticides are used, there is a low health risk for people consuming these crops and minor environmental damage.
  2. Cheap: Genetically Modified Crops are farmed to grow resourcefully. This helps farmers produce the same amount of food using less labor, less water, and a very minimum amount of pesticide compared to other conventional crops. Because few resources are required for production, food producers also charge lower prices for these foods.
  3. Rich in nutrients: Some specific genetically modified crops are designed for providing more nutrients like minerals or vitamins. These crops can significantly help in those regions where people often suffer from nutritional deficiencies.
  4. Increased yields: Genetically Modified Crops are prepared to be resistant to diseases due to their genetic modifications. This improves their sustainability and also increases yields. Due to increased yields, these crops can provide food for a swiftly increasing population. The production is more in small land areas.

Disadvantages of Genetically Modified Crops

Genetically Modified Crops offer many advantages by reducing costs and producing crops with increased yields, but they also have certain disadvantages. They are:

  1. Increased antibiotic resistance: While creating genetically modified crops, scientists insert certain additional genes for specific modifications. While inserting new DNA into the cells of plants, an additional gene is added that makes the cells have resistance to antibiotics. Then an antibiotic is used to kill off any plant cells that did not take in the new DNA successfully.
  2. Allergic reactions: Genetically Modified Crops can cause allergic reactions in people. Since genetically modified crops contain the DNA of other organisms, the new DNA will likely activate allergic reactions in people who usually would not be allergic to the same food.
  3. Toxin production: Genetically Modified Crops may have increased toxin production at levels already harmful to humans. These toxins are produced either due to damage of the gene while inserting it into the DNA of another plant or when the gene inserted is not accepted by the receiver organism. Thus, consuming these foods with the toxin may cause harm to one’s health.
  4. Reduced nutritional value: There are reports that certain genetically modified foods are void of nutritional value. As genetic engineering focuses more on improving and increasing production, extending the lifespan of such crops, and preventing pests, the nutritional value is often overlooked, and hence it gets compromised. While making a crop more resistant to pests, it is also seen that there is a reduction in the antioxidant phytochemicals.

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Comparison Table for Advantages and Disadvantages of Genetically Modified Crops

AdvantagesDisadvantages
Genetically Modified Crops are less prone to pests and insects since they come with natural pesticides. Hence, fewer pesticides are used, which causes low health risks.These crops contain the DNA of other plants and hence may cause an allergic reaction in people.
Genetically Modified Crops use low labor, less irrigation, and fewer pesticides, and hence the production cost is low since few resources are used.These crops have low nutritional value since genetic engineering overlooks nutritional value while focusing on other needs.
The crops are rich in nutrients which provides health benefits.These crops are resistant to antibiotics due to their genetic modification process.
Genetically Modified Crops produce increased yields which help to feed a large number of populations with minimum resources.Genetically Modified Crops have increased toxin production at levels that are already harmful to humans.

Genetically Modified Crops DisAdvantages

FAQ’s on Pros and Cons of Genetically Modified Crops

Question 1.
Are Genetically Modified Crops safe for consumption?

Answer:
Yes. Genetically Modified Crops are safe for consumption since no evidence has been found that consuming a genetically modified crop is dangerous. There are chances that risks are associated with introducing new genes, and hence each crop is closely watched over and tested in various ways before consumption.

Question 2.
Which crops are Genetically Modified Crops?

Answer:
Corns, cotton, soybean, papaya, alfalfa, sugar beets, and canola are genetically engineered crops. Out of the plants planted in the US, 92% of corn and 94% of cotton and papaya were genetically engineered.

Question 3.
Has there been an impact on pesticide use due to Genetically Modified Crops?

Answer:
Yes. Due to genetically modified crops, the use of pesticides has decreased. There has been a fall in the worldwide use of pesticides due to genetically modified crops.

Question 4.
Will the consumption of Genetically Modified Crops affect someone’s genes?

Answer:
No. Consuming genetically modified food will not affect the genes of an individual. The majority of the edibles consumed by us contain genes whose DNA has been destroyed, and the genes are fragmented. Our digestive system breaks up those without causing any result on our genetic make-up.

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