Sam Shipley English 1010 Pr

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Sam Shipley

English 1010

Professor Rob Lloyd

8 November, 2015

  Essay Four: Genetic Engineering Controversy

Who 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.

According 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.


Genetic 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 billion.

Genetic 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.

Genetic 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.

After 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. 


According 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).

While 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. 

The 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.

By 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. 

Works Cited

Fedor, John. Organic Farming for the 21st century. Lincoln Ltd, 2001.


Fossel, Peter V. Organic Farming: Everything You Need to Know. St. Paul, MN: MBI, 2007. Print.

Orlendorf, Donna. The Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine. Detroit, MI: Gale Research, 1999. Print.

“Union of Concerned Scientists”. Union of Concerned Scientists. Web. 14 Apr. 2015.

Krapp, Kristine M. The Gale Encyclopedia of Nursing of Nursing & Allied Health. Detroit: Gale Group, 2002. Print.



“Health and Wellness.” Health and Wellness. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Apr. 2015.


“Skip Menu.” Virginia Cooperative Extension. N.p., m.d. Web. 19 Apr. 2015.

"Jeff Fox Interview." Personal interview. 5 Nov. 2015.

"Trader Joes Interview." Personal interview. 6 Nov. 2015.

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