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Is Genetic Engineering the Answer to Ending Global Hunger - Term Paper Example

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Is genetic engineering the answer to ending global hunger? Name Instructor Class 14 July 2012 Introduction The modern world is experiencing the Second Green Revolution through advances in biotechnology and its applications in agriculture. Genetic engineering uses biotechnology to improve particular traits of crops, so that they can be resistant to pests and weeds, for instance…
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Download file to see previous pages The United Nations approximated that global human population will increase by “more than 40 percent, from 6.3 billion people today to 8.9 billion in 2050” (Rauch, 2003, p.104). While populations are expanding, the land devoted to planting food is not sufficient to respond to this increase. The pressure to improve agricultural production with limited land supplies results to discussion on different ways of responding to global hunger. Scientists and supporters of genetic engineering asserted that it can be a sustainable solution to global hunger. This paper explores the debate surrounding this issue. It argues that yes, genetic engineering can end global hunger, but if it can do so in a sustainable manner requires further independent studies, so governments all over the world should actively monitor genetic engineering’s operations and effects on human, animal, and plant life. For and Against Genetic Engineering Genetic engineering can end global hunger, because it can produce plants that resist diseases and unruly weather conditions. In the article, “Will Frankenfood Save the Planet?” Rauch (2003) argued that only genetically modified plants can ensure the benefits of no-till farming, which is a sustainable way of farming. He explained that no-till farming reduces runoff, which pollutes rivers and lakes, since worms and other organisms stay on the top soil and turn agricultural land into a huge “sponge” for heavy rains (p.104). Genetic engineering essentially makes organic farming possible without the need for manure, which pollutes water systems. Rauch (2003) added that during the 1990s, the agricultural company Monsanto designed a transgenic soybean specimen that it called “Roundup Ready” (Rauch, 2003, p.105). It tolerates the herbicide Roundup, which kills numerous kinds of weeds and disintegrates the latter into nontoxic ingredients (Rauch, 2003, p.105). Many farmers use Roundup Ready crops, instead of using a cocktail of expensive chemicals (Rauch, 2003, p.105). At present, more than 30% of American soybeans are harvested without plowing fields (Rauch, 2003, p.105). This can have large positive effects on farm areas with poor soil conditions, particularly those in the developing countries. Farmers can convert unused areas that are used to be not good for planting into productive agricultural plots. In “Food: How Altered?” Ackerman (2002) explored the benefits and drawbacks of genetic engineering. One of the benefits of genetic engineering is designing plants that can withstand rough weather and soil conditions. Hence, it can improve agricultural yield and expand agricultural opportunities. Genetically modified foods can fight other plant and human diseases. Farmers use herbicides to destroy weeds. Biotech crops can offer “tolerance” genes that help them endure the spraying of chemicals that eradicate almost all kinds of plants (Ackerman, 2002, p.32). Some types of biotech plants produce insecticide, because of gene taken from a soil bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt for short (Ackerman, 2002, p.32). Bt genes produce toxins that are seen as nontoxic to humans, but deadly to several insects, such as the European corn borer, an insect that eats cornstalks and ears (Ackerman, 2002, p.32). Bt is so effective that organic farmers have treated it as a natural insecticide for many ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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