Genetic engineering is a technology, which has been developed since the late 80’s. As the technology continued to develop, more and more techniques have been discovered and are now being applied as a replacement to traditional processes used in the past. In agriculture, genetic engineering is being done in order to introduce new varieties of plants and crops, which are supposed to be more beneficial to both farmers and consumers. Genetic engineering benefits include the following:
- Environmental protection due to lessened pesticide use
- Increased farm production due to improved resistance against pests, viruses and fungi
- Pharmaceutical benefits as new crops are introduced which can lead to medicine production e.g. production of hepatitis vaccines
However, much consideration has to be made concerning gmo health risks as well since genetic engineering benefits that come with this present-day technology does not come without disadvantages.
Why Do We Have Different Claims Of Genetic Engineering Pros And Cons?
For those involved in agricultural companies such as Monsanto, genetic engineering pros include increased farm and food production which ultimately benefit small farmers as well as developing countries. They claim that genetic engineering helps in protecting the environment since genetically modified crops are now more resistant to pests and viruses that are common problems to agricultural crops.
This results is a lessened need for pesticides which are eventually absorbed by the environment. However, to look at these genetic engineering pros means that one is merely looking at the smaller picture. For these big agricultural companies, genetic engineering benefits need to outweigh the risks due to the fact that they need to get back profits as a result of expenditures spent for years of research.
However, many researchers are now beginning to see the long-term effects and probable hazards that come with genetic engineering. Environmental hazards such as the probable introduction of super weeds due to cross contamination may result from this technology. Super weeds that are also resistant to pesticides may decrease crop production in the long run and may give farmers more headaches than benefits.
The ultimate loss of uncultivated wild plants which have medicinal values is highly possible given the fact that the introduction of genetically altered plants may eventually lead to decreased biodiversity. As much as pro genetic engineering scientists argue that they are dealing with single gene replacements, others believe that these single gene replacements may result in unexpected changes such as enhanced virulence and decreased antibiotic resistance in plant pathogens.
GMO Health Risks You Should Be Very Concerned About
More than environmental concerns are gmo health risks that come with the introduction of gm crops and gm foods. Single gene changes can alter genetic structure in plants and the eventual introduction of allergens to the newer variety. Antibiotic resistance brought about by antibiotic resistant genes may also lead to an increase in the number of superbugs which are now starting to be discovered. Cancer risks also pose a threat to an individual’s health as the effects of single gene changes and mutations have yet to be elucidated.
As much as genetic engineers believe that there are many advantages to genetic engineering, the bigger picture must be seen. Playing around with genetic structures is highly unpredictable and the long-term results may be something quite regrettable.