There are many reasons why genetic engineering is applied to plants. For centuries, a particular plant was bred with another to propagate a particular and desired trait or traits. In many ways, the same is being done with genetically engineered plants; however, there is a steady and growing concern that such GMO plants are harmful for the environment.
Proponents of genetically modified plants are quick to say that such concerns are unfounded. They say that the environment and the naturally growing plants and animals are safe even when genetically modified plants are grown nearby.
Those against genetically altering the makeup of plants, however, say otherwise and state that there are several ways that genetically engineered plants threaten the environment.
What might be desirable in one plant might not be in another. Unless, GMO plants are planted inside, for example, greenhouses, there is no way to completely control the spread of the said plants’ pollen. And when the GMO’s pollen comes into contact with a naturally grown plant, it might spell disaster if certain traits are inherited by another plant.
What kind of damage, for example would happen if certain weeds developed a tolerance for herbicides?
2. Chemical Abuse
Because some GMO plants are engineered to be resistant to pesticides or herbicides, there is a chance that growers will use more of these harmful chemicals when growing their resistant genetically engineered plants. Such chemicals could end up being consumed in trace amounts by consumers who buy produce from the said altered crops.
3. Danger To Animals
Humans aren’t the only ones who might get in trouble when genetically engineered plants are grown out in the open. The hapless animals that unwittingly end up feeding or grazing on the genetically engineered plants could end up biting on more than they can chew, as what happened to some sheep that grazed on genetically engineered cotton in India. The sheep died.
What Kind Of GE Plants Are On The Market Internationally?
Aside from the United States, there are a couple of countries that are growing GE plants. Argentina comes second, followed by Canada, and Brazil and China.
Aside from the usual GM soybeans, these countries also plant genetically modified corn, cotton, rapeseed and sugar beet among others. These genetically engineered crops can also be used in the making of other products. In a way, the risks that they may pose are given an extended reach when they are (sometimes, unknowingly) used as ingredients in other products.
The Truth About The Genetic Engineering Of Food – Is It All Good?
The genetic engineering of food or, more specifically, of GE fruits and vegetables haven’t really contributed much for the welfare of the consuming public. There are reasons why genetically modified crops were developed and grown. However, most of the time, these genetically modified crops were no different from the naturally grown variants -- not cheaper, no increased shelf-life, not even better tasting.
If this is the case, then genetically engineered food could end up not being all that good for consumer health. In fact, with the risks involved in consuming genetically altered food, then everyone is better off sticking to what nature gave us in the first place.