Professor Rob Lloyd
8 November, 2015
Essay Four: Genetic Engineering
would have thought that seventy to eighty percent of the food that people
consume is made up of GMOs and that is just in the United States alone. There
are two sides of the argument. There is the side that is for production of
organic farming and then there is the side of the production of GMOs. GMO
stands for genetically modified organism. GMOs are organisms that were
artificially manipulated and transfer genes from the original organism by
splicing bits of DNA using an enzyme called restriction endonuclease. Genetic
engineering is the altering of the genetic material in order functions. DNA contains
chromosomes, threadlike structures found in the nucleus, or control center, of
every cell in every living thing. Genes are carried by chromosomes that allow
carrying codes. With genetic engineering, it can provide the ability to
transfer genes form one organism to the other. In 1944, Oswald Avery found that
by taking DNA from one type of bacterium and inserting it into another, the
second bacterium took on certain traits of the first. This experiment, along
with other experiments and research, proved that the genes were able to be
transported form the first organism to the second organism. On the other side
of the coin, is the argument for organic farming. Organic farming is all about
preserving the environment and most people do it because it is simply
self-rewarding. By researching the back ground and side effects from both
sides, genetic engineering is beneficial to the people economically, health
wise, and is favorable to the environment.
to a local farmer that works on the Fruit and Berry Patch in Powell Tennessee,
he said that GMOs has been around for centuries and is not just a recent
occurrence. It started form a monk that messed around with beans and was able
to genetically cross them. The farmer
mentioned that in the 50s they had to make genetically modify cheese because of
the short amount of veil that would cause it to coagulate and because of the shortage
of meat they had to come up with something new. The farmer said that GMOs does
not do anything to humans. The farmer said that the cry about GMOs is that it
bites the earth and uses fewer chemicals; however, GMOs give back to the earth
because to raise them it uses fewer chemicals, which can be harmful to the
environment and wildlife. The farmer said that the cry started when a farmer
used some beans that were not up to date with the health records and mismanaged
the production of making it genetically modified. People will make the argument
that organic is fresher than GMOs; however, last year there was a break out of
listeria with peaches. Listeria is a type of bacteria that infects humans and
animals through contaminated food. Because they used organic instead of GMOs,
they were not able to use fungicides to prevent Listeria from happening to the
peaches. United States is the safest place to make GMOs because of all the
regulations and demands by the federal government. The government has such strict
rules that there is no reason for it not to be safe to grow GMOs. That does not
mean that it is safe to get food from Mexico or some other country. The
government will make a list to the farmers of what to spray and what products
to spray it on. The farmer said that the government inspects the farm once
every two years.
engineering is beneficial to the public by being economically friendly. The
most powerful thing in this world is money and how to preserve it and make more
of it. Genetic engineering is one way to save money because it is cheaper to
buy genetically modified foods. Organic is all about the money. The reason why
the public tries to push for organic is because the reason why it is so
expensive is because it is fresh. The real reason why organic is so expensive
is because the food does not last nearly as long as GMOs which remains hidden
from the public. Another reason genetic engineering is great for the economy is
GMOs provide easier farming which produces more food to allow the prices to be
lowered. It allows farmers to not use as much land which also is cheaper for
the farmers. According to Union of the Concerned Scientist “Genetic engineering
saves a lot of time for farmers” (Union of Concerned). Also, it saves farmers
time because there is no need to till up the ground and the soil does not need
as much tending to like organic farming. In addition, GMOs do not require near
as much herbicides or pesticides for spraying crops as organic foods. According to GMO answers, genetic
engineering has reduced pesticide spraying by five hundred million kilograms.
As a result, this has decreased the environmental impact associated with herbicide
and insecticide use on the area planted to biotech crops by nineteen percent.
(GMO Answers) Furthermore, Crop biotechnology helps farmers earn reasonable
incomes for their work. The net economic benefit at the farm level in 2012 was
$18.8 billion, equal to an average increase in income of $117/hectare. For the
17-year period (1996-2012), the global farm income gain has been $116.6
engineering is beneficial to the public by having health benefits. Scientists
over the years have always tried to find ways to prevent illnesses and
diseases. One solution to stop these tragic diseases is genetic engineering.
Genetic engineering can prevent diseases by detaching the gene that causes the
disease. For instance, in a genetically engineered cow scientist can pin point
the bacteria so that every time someone milks the cow the bacteria will come
out of the cow. The same thing can be done to the food. If there is a certain
bacteria inside the food product, genetic engineering allows the bacteria can
be transported out of the crop so it will not cause any harm to the human or
animal. In addition, GMOs allow a farmer to spray an insecticide to protect the
crop from insects; on the other hand, organic products do not allow a farmer to
spray on the crop. A lot of people claim that genetic engineering can cause
much health concerns such as immune problems and organ damage. Some people even
say that the reason why you see the new generation so much taller and larger is
due to GMOs; however, Jeff Fox, a local farmer says that GMOs have no effects
on making people taller or causing damage. There have been many studies on how
GMOs can cause health risk and there has been no evidence to prove it. There
have been some other incidents that people point to that have health problems
and claim that it was caused by GMOs; but, the critics leave out the fact that
the people have to allergies to certain foods that cause the health problems.
engineering is favorable to the environment; In fact, engineering is the only
way to farm especially in the Appalachia area because of the humidity, soil,
and the insect pressure will not allow farmers to farm organically. Soil has
become a huge problem for agriculture because the soil becomes too hot due to
the humidity which alters the growth of the crop. Furthermore, the soil is
infested with insects form worms to beetles that carry bacteria. Genetic
engineering allows killing the insects that are in the proximity of the crops
which also kills the bacteria the insects were carrying. Studies show that when
best management practices are implemented, GMOs have been effective at reducing
pest problems. Also, genetic engineering can provide large number water
pollution to the environment. According to the Farm Press, agriculture provides
the largest source of water pollution in the U.S. Rice is a water intensive
food crop. Genetic engineering has the effect of increasing the water pollution
by splicing a gen called hardy that has a high concentration of water. Also,
this is done by increasing the use of photosynthesis. Modification of this gene
has also been shown to increase the strength and amount of root structure of
the plant. Genetically modified crops are carefully examined by the federal
government to make sure the farmers are following the health regulation;
whereas, farmers that produce organically does not require for the government
to check their crops. So, farmers that grow their food organically are hard to
be trusted because there are not any regulations for those farmers.
looking at all the aspects of genetic engineering, there are many people
however that prefer to go the organic rout and here are some reasons on why
people use organic to produce food. According to the Union of Concerned
Scientist, “it is an exaggeration to say that genetic engineering is beneficial
to the environment.” (Union) There are environmental risks from genetic
engineering. Genetic engineering is
extremely dangerous to wildlife such as birds, insects, and rabbits and many other
different species of animals. The reason
why it’s so dangerous is, according to Health and Wellness “in order to keep
the genetically modified plans preserved, you need to require lots of
pesticides and probiotics to spray on the plants” (Health and Wellness). This
causes animals to die. “Pesticides are substances used for destroying insects”
(Health & Wellness). Enough
said. Not to mention that some of the
insects that are killed from this are helpful to the environment, such as bees,
spiders, and butterflies.
Genetic engineering can also be detrimental to
the environment by making the air toxic.
According to the Union of Concern Scientist “The gene in a genetically
modified plant makes the air toxic” (Union of Concerned). According to the Virginia
Cooperative Extension, probably the most detrimental attribute to the
environment is when spraying pesticides; it creates more weed species,
“millions of areas of U.S. farmland are now infected by weeds that are
resistant to the pesticides “(Virginia Cooperative). Not only does genetic
engineering put the environment at risk, but also puts human beings health at
risk as well. According to the Union of Concerned Scientist “Genes transplanted
from an allergenic plant that would transfer it to the main plant would also
make the main plant allergenic as well” (Union of Concerned). There was a recorded documentation of
soybeans in 1996 that were transplanted to another plant but had a nut gene in
it that made it allergenic. Genetic
engineering can cause many disorders such as hemophilia and cell anemia
according to the Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine. Hemophilia is when the ability
of the blood to clot is severely reduced, causing the person to bleed severely
from even a slight injury. Cell anemia
causes the blood cells to carry less oxygen. While genetic engineering seems
really advanced and beneficial, there is some draw back to it.
to the EPA news source that did an article about this subject said that all
food products that are organic are labeled, meaning it lists what type of food
it is and its ingredients. Whereas, genetically
modified originated food is not. Organic food is also healthy to eat because of
all the nutrition and vitamins in it; instead of digesting toxic chemicals. The
government oversees organic farming making sure that it is safe to be
eaten. This fact makes people feel at
ease to eat organic food. Organic
farming is good for the environment. According to Peter V. Fossel, who is the
author of “Organic Farming -Everything
you need to Know” organic farming is friendly to wildlife; because organic
farming does not involve the use of pesticides which produces toxic air. Organic farming is very economical. The EPA news service did a study on farmers
in Washington; it said “farmers that grow these crops create thousands of jobs
throughout central Washington” (EPA Overreach Hurts).
there are a lot of benefits to organic farming, they are some disadvantages to
organic farming as well. For one reason, food products are more expensive than
genetically modified food. Also, for someone to do organic farming requires
talent and skill in order to produce the food properly. There are a lot of
complicated steps involved which requires a lot of time and patience, especially
the use of weed control. Also, even though organic food is healthy because of
the nutrition in it, there is a high chance that the food would spoil.
According to the EPA, the reason organic food has a high chance to spoil is
because it contains no preservatives. So, while organic food has so many
benefits, there are also disadvantages as stated above. Some people choose
organic and others choose genetically engineered foods. There are pros and cons
to both. It just depends on the person’s cup of tea. The differences are important to know.
world is starting to wake up about organic farming on how detrimental it really
is. Just because everyone is crying about genetic engineering and all the
arguments that the critics use does not mean that they are true. The fact is
that even though organic food is fresh, the product does not last long and
becomes contaminated. People may not realize the product is rotted but yet
still eat it which can cause serious health risk. Also, organic food does not require
using pesticides; but, some farmers may feel the need to use pesticides on the
crop which can be poisonous. The majority of organically grown produce is most
likely grown with pesticides. Organic crops are not meant for pesticides; but,
most people are not aware of that and use sprays anyway; in fact, some people say,
“Half a teaspoon is not much. Let’s put more in it.” Organic is a money
gimmick. People that sell foods that are organic are at high prices because the
food is fresh; but, the people keep it from the public that the product does
not last long. So, really it is a dishonest way to try to get people to buy
their crops. Furthermore, organic farming will not work well in the environment
especially in the Appalachia where it is hot and humid. The ground is also
rocky and there are not a lot of flat lands to grow organically. It is
important to have good ground and favorable weather to grow food organically.
Otherwise, the crop will rot or not produce properly causing the product to not
be beneficial to the person or animal eating the product. The idea of growing
food with chemicals is essential for our public health.
looking at research about genetic engineering, there is a considerable amount
of evidence that proves genetic engineering is beneficial to society
economically, health wise, and is favorable to the environment. Genetic
engineering is good to the economy by GMOs provide easier farming which
produces more food to allow the prices to be lowered. It allows farmers to not
use as much land which also is cheaper for the farmers. GMOs do not require
near as much herbicides or pesticides for spraying crops as organic foods.
Genetic engineering can
provide safety for health by transported infected genes form bacteria out of
the organism by splicing the gene. GMOs allow a farmer to spray an insecticide
to protect the crop from insects. Also, genetic engineering will allow an
organism that gets infected to transport the bacteria out of it. The peach
story is a good example to prove that GMOs can help with health safety. Genetic
engineering is beneficial to the environment by using fewer chemicals to raise
the crops. Also, genetic engineering is the only way to grow crops because of
the humidity and the insect pressure. By spraying the crops with insecticides,
herbicides, and many other types of sprays make the crop not vulnerable to the
heat and insects.
John. Organic Farming for the 21st
century. Lincoln Ltd, 2001.
Peter V. Organic Farming: Everything You Need to Know. St. Paul, MN: MBI, 2007.
Donna. The Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine.
Detroit, MI: Gale Research, 1999. Print.
“Union of Concerned Scientists”. Union of
Concerned Scientists. Web. 14 Apr. 2015. http://www.ucsusa.org/
Kristine M. The Gale Encyclopedia of
Nursing of Nursing & Allied Health. Detroit: Gale Group, 2002. Print.
“EPA OVERREACH HURTS CENTRAL WASHINGTON
FARMERS WEEKLY COLUMN BY CONGRESSMAN DOC HASTINGS June 11, 2010. States News Service. N.p., 11 June 2010.
Web. 19 Apr. 2015. http://highbeam.com/doc/1G1-228685238.html?refid=easy_hf
and Wellness.” Health and Wellness. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Apr. 2015. http://www.healthandwelllness.com/.
Menu.” Virginia Cooperative Extension.
N.p., m.d. Web. 19 Apr. 2015. http://www.ext.vt.edu/.
Fox Interview." Personal interview. 5 Nov. 2015.
Joes Interview." Personal interview. 6 Nov. 2015.