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Positive and Negative Environmental effects of Genetically Modified Crops - Research Paper Example

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Genetically Modified Crops One of the major agricultural issues in recent years has been the question of genetically modified crops. Genetically modified crops are generally understood as organisms that have had specific changes undertaken to them through alterations in their DNA…
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Positive and Negative Environmental effects of Genetically Modified Crops
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Positive and Negative Environmental effects of Genetically Modified Crops

Download file to see previous pages... Still, a number of objections have been raised. This essay examines the positive and negative environmental effects of genetically modified crops. While genetically modified crops have steadily gained support there exists a strong contingent of groups that object to these crops on environmental reasons. Within this contingent some of the strongest objections have been levied by groups concerned with environmental sustainability as well as religious groups that object to genetic modification on moral grounds. Still, it’s clear a growing body of research has pointed to substantial environmental concerns from implementing genetically modified crops. In this context of understanding, one of the predominant concerns is unintended harm to surrounding crops and organisms. For instance, a recent study indicated that, “pollen from B.t. corn caused high mortality rates in monarch butterfly caterpillars” (‘Transgenic Pollen’, pg. 214). While this study was not conducted in natural conditions, other researchers have argued similar contentions. In these regards, it’s been noted that pollen and other genetically modified crop outgrowth holds a strong potential for spreading to surrounding areas and detrimentally affecting the life-cycle of a variety of organisms. Another prominent environmental concern related to the use of genetically modified crops is the reported potential of gene-transfer to non-target species. Essentially this concern indicates that crops that have been genetically modified for stringent resistance to weather conditions or other areas of detriment will transfer their crop resistance to less desirable outgrowth. For instance, “crop plants engineered for herbicide tolerance and weeds will cross-breed, resulting in the transfer of the herbicide resistance genes from the crops into the weeds. These "superweeds" would then be herbicide tolerant as well” (Whitman). These concerns have emerged in a number of real-world contexts, with lawsuits emerging in situations where adjacent genetically modified crop-land have reportedly infected non-modified crops. Another prominent concern in this area of understanding is the worry of the reduced effectiveness of pesticides. This concern takes a variety of forms as farmers of non-genetically modified crops worry that new species of insects might emerge in response to genetically modified crops that are then entirely resistant to traditional forms of pesticides. While there have been a variety of proposed solutions to the above mentioned environmental concerns, it’s clear that at least in the present technological environment they remain viable worries for farmers not directly involved in the production of genetically modified strains of crop. Even as substantial environmental objections exist to genetically modified crops, researchers note that there is considerable environmental support for this mode of agricultural production. One of the major noted environmental benefits for farmers is the increased pest resistance of genetically modified crops. One of the primary areas where such genetic modification has had a tremendous impact on farming is in developing regions. In these areas, “agricultural production does not merely function as a means of economic profit, but is oftentimes intimately linked to the population’ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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