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Bioengineering in Food - Research Paper Example

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The essay aims to address a two-fold objective to wit: (1) to differentiate bioengineering from hybridization; and (2) to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using bioengineering in agriculture…
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Bioengineering in Food
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Download file to see previous pages 262). Hybridization, on the other hand, refers to the process of cross-breeding genetically dissimilar crops, both within and between species (Aheto, 2008, p. 77). Genetic engineering and hybridization differ in origin: genes from genetic engineering originate from any living organism, virus, or even chemical synthesis while genes from hybridization may originate from genetically different plant genera and families. Genetic engineering enabled food and crop scientists to manipulate the DNA of plants at molecular level. It has allowed possible transfer of DNA between two distantly species, unlike the traditional hybridization. Organisms that have been transformed using genetic engineering are often called transgenic organism, genetically engineered organism, or genetically modified organism (Wieczorek, 2003, p. 1); hybrid is the term used for organisms that underwent hybridization. The major differences of genetic engineering and hybridization in agriculture are noticeable in terms of results and economic impact. No matter how good the breeder is in choosing the best parents to cross or hybrid, the result is still unpredictable in the genetic levels. DNA of parent crops recombines randomly and may exhibit desirable traits such as pest resistance but the hybrid may also exhibit undesirable traits such as poor quality and lower yield. Because of the possibility to produce a crop which has undesirable characteristics and the great deal of effort required to separate undesirable from desirable traits, hybridization or traditional breeding is time-consuming, labor-intensive, and is not economically practical. Meanwhile, genetic engineering is economically practical as it allows segmentation of specific characteristics of DNA to be selected and removed unwanted traits, making the desired gene controlled, precise, and of high quality (Wieczorek, 2003, p. 1). Advantages of Bioengineering Wieczorek (2003) identified a few examples of benefits or advantages of bioengineering to the agriculture, among of which are: increased crop productivity, enhanced crop protection, improvements in food processing, improved nutritional value, better flavor, and fresher produce (p. 2-3). Genetically engineered crops increased crop productivity because it introduced qualities such as disease resistance and increased drought tolerance to the crops (Wieczorek, 2003, p. 2). Examples of which are the cases in University of Hawaii and Cornell University that developed two varieties of papaya resistant to papaya ringspot virus. The used of genetic engineering in agriculture has also increased crop productivity by developing drought-resistant plants that are capable of using water efficiently. Genetic engineering also enhanced crop protection and can make cost-effective solutions to pests’ problems (Wieczorek, 2003, p. 2). The research from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis has made protein in the crops such as corn, cotton, and potato into a protein that kills certain insects when they feed on the plants. This technological breakthrough is also the protein used in natural insecticides. The similar case applies to Bt engineered into a corn crop, making pest control more cheaply, more effective, and less expensive, but Bt crops are considered inacceptable because the entire ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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I didn’t know how to start my essay. "Bioengineering in Food" helped me out a lot! Especially the list of closing part was valuable.

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