Genetically Modified Food - Advantages Genetically Modified (GM) food has received a lot of flack from interest groups in the last few years, but I don't think that it is as bad as some claim it to be. For some, GM foods are thought to be harmful. What foods are potentially dangerous and what are the risks? I think that from a biologist point of view, that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. Today, genetically engineered food is at the centre of the controversy. First, one must understand that plants can be modified in many ways and that the practice of changing our food's DNA is not new.

Historically, people have been altering crops by choosing seeds from plants with desired characteristics for a long time. Likewise, plant breeders can and have been creating hybrids by crossing crops with wild relatives of the same family. This process also is not new; it uses simple pollen / embryo manipulation and can improve specific plant properties. Wide crosses, though, do not occur in nature, even with human intervention. There are boundaries that prohibit such mutations. One can't mix a mouse with an elephant, for instance.

Genetic engineering allows geneticists to strengthen many organic food attributes. Here are what I think are a few advantages of genetic engineering. " Herbicides last longer Herbicides are both expensive and harmful to the environment but necessary to ensure that weeds do not weaken crops. Through genetic engineering, plants can be designed to resist powerful herbicide. This reduces the amount of herbicide needed to get the job done, and so is less harmful to the environment, because fewer harmful herbicides are used. " Weather tolerance Destruction brought on by frost costs the agricultural industry substantial sums each year.

Genes from cold-water fish have been added to tobacco and potatoes to increase their resistance to cold temperature. This saves money and time. Also, if crops were modified to cope with heat, they may be a solution to famine in 3 rd world countries. " Pest resistance So far, pesticides are one of the only effective ways to fight pests, but can also poison the environment and kill other things such as plants, crops and harmless small animals. Plants engineered to resist and repel insect invaders drastically reduce this environmental pollutant, so is better for the environment because less insecticide is used. " Increase nutritional content Geneticists can make foods more nutritious.

In some parts of the world, people depend on a single food source, causing a lack of nutrition in the diet. Rice is a very common food source in third world countries, but it does not contain many vitamins. As a response to this problem, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Institute for Plant Sciences created rice called "Golden Rice." It contains vitamin A. This would mean that other countries, such as Britain, would not have to export as much food to the 3 rd world countries, because they could grow sufficient food in their own country. This could decrease the number of deaths from malnutrition in the 3 rd world countries. " Tolerant crops If crops were GM so that they could grow in unsuitable soils, e.

g. salty soils, then farmers would produce more crops, and waste less land. This would mean that the cost of crops would reduce, and therefore maybe more would be consumed, and so a healthier lifestyle, and consequently, a lower NHS bill for the government. " Vaccines and storage Crops could be genetically modified so that they last for longer. This would mean a lot less waste, and cheaper products. This could also help in getting food to 3 rd world countries, because without GM, they would rot virtually straight away, making waste.

Whereas if they are GM, then they may last for days or even weeks. Food could also contain vaccines, making it easier to vaccinate children and people in 3 rd world countries. And many more advantages, who knows, we could end up growing square bananas. I conclude that Genetically Modified crops are a good thing, not just for us, but the environment and 3 rd world countries. Many lives would be saved. Bibliography Newspapers online web > book - biological science Bibliography my head Newspapers online web > book - biological science.