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This 7 page Class Notes was uploaded by sahil pawar on Thursday August 18, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to at University of Toledo taught by in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 4 views.
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Date Created: 08/18/16
Pawar1 Sahil Pawar Michelle Fowler ENGL 1110 11 April 2016 Genetically Modified Plants are a gift of Science A few decades ago when there was a huge shortage of food grain around the world and majority of the world’s population was suffering from wide spread starvation, the introduction of HYV (High yielding variety) of seeds saved many lives. HYV seeds were a miracle of Genetic Modification and a gift from science. Soon after seeds, scientists started to make genetic modifications to plants, this was how Genetically Modified Crops (GMCs) were born. Genetically Modified (GM) Plants are basically plants with modified genes which make them better in various ways than the older version of food crops. In today’s world genetically modified plants are beneficial because they are resistant to most of the plant diseases, highly productive in quantity and being genetically identical, they also carry all the traits to future generations making every off spring as productive as the parent. Though some say that these plants aren’t naturally grown and use a lot of pesticides. Some also argue that organic plants would be a better choice, they forget that these plants are the only way to feed the whole world. They also argue about the nutrient value of these plants. Genetically Modified plants’ biggest advantage is their productivity. This is also one of the main reasons why these plants were invented. GM crops produce large amount of crops in a really short amount of time. Compared to the older variety of crops the GM crops produce almost 5 times more grains and take about 2 times lesser time. In his article about the Pawar2 introduction of GM soybean in Brazil, author Marhino et al. talks about how much of a difference in the introduction of GM soybean in Brazil’s crop production level. The production of soybean almost doubled when these crops were harvested in Brazil. Soon after soybean, GM cotton and GM maize followed boosting the production level to the unimaginable. Today Brazil nd is the 2 highest GM crops producing country in the world with about 36.6 million hectares of land under cultivation, surpassed only by U.S. which has about 69.5 million hectares of land under GM crop cultivation. It was estimated that 83.4% of soybean fields in Brazil’s 2012/2013 harvest were planted with GMOs (Marhino et al.2223). This proves that nothing beats the productivity levels of GM crops and therefore they are irreplaceable when this aspect comes to argument. Genetically Modified plants are genetically resistant to almost all of the plant diseases. In his interview Professor Steven of the University of Toledo, Biology department said in his personal interview that these plants are immune to almost all the diseases that they were ever susceptible to. These plants are genetically identical and they pass on almost all of their traits to the future generations. Author Marhino et al. also mentions the GM variety of cotton plant was introduced because of its resistance to the attack of gall worm, in Brazil. The gall worm feeds on the cotton plant disallowing it to produce more and destroying most of the harvest. The special variety of cotton called BT cotton was introduced to tackle this problem. This was developed using the bacterium Bacillus Thuringiensis and hence the name BT cotton was given (Marinho et al.2324). This bacterium made the plant very difficult for the gall worm to consume and made it permanently immune to gall worm attack. The BT cotton has toxins in it which cause no harm to humans but these toxins react with the alkaline environment of the insect’s gut and kills it Pawar3 instantly. This is just one example of how these plants are resistant to pests and diseases. Every GM is resistant to almost every disease and pest attack. Not all the GM crops need to be sprayed with pesticides and therefore that reduces the environmental pollution and cancels out the earlier argument. The plants can not only be genetically modified to produce more but these plants can even be used to make vaccines naturally. In her article, Kristina Hug writes how these plants are not utilized up to their full potential. She tells us that many of these plants can be genetically modified to produce vaccines naturally and make them readily available to the general population at a much lower price. This really a new and possible advantage of these plants. In the past years the scientists have mainly focused on the productivity of these plants and ignored or say, just overlooked other uses these plants could have had. Public health could really benefit from the use of these plants and really make a huge difference. Though this still being worked on, Kristina Hug in her article proposes the idea of using these plants to use them to make vaccines. It’s not only the plants which can be used to distribute the vaccines but also the animals can be genetically modified for the same. For example, a cow’s genes and mammary glands can also be modified to produce vaccinated milk. People argue about actually bringing this genetic change, since we can already inject the vaccines but also they cannot deny that injected vaccines are expensive and require trained medical staff for their administration. The vaccines that are injected also need a lot of storage space along with constant cooling which makes their maintenance even more expensive. Another problem may rise with injected vaccines is that, since there is use of needle, it has a good chance of producing infections. So therefore, if these plants are used to make edible vaccines, it would help to avoid these inconveniences and Pawar4 dangers. Though the idea hasn’t been put to full effect, researchers have made a few experimental plants to see how well it would work (Hug 8889). Hug also mentions about a transgenic variety of potatoes which contain a small portion of cholera toxin, which acts as an edible vaccine. They have also made other transgenic plants which contain vaccine against hepatitis B.(Hug 88) Another advantage these plants have is that they are genetically identical and they carry almost every trait to the future generations. Authors Lin and Pan in their article also show belief for genetically identical to be a positive trait since one doesn’t have to keep modifying every new generation (Lin 56) . This means that every plant that is once genetically modified will forever have the same traits and will always stay immune to all of the diseases it was modified to stay immune to. This way genetic modification does not have to be repeated for every generation of crops saving a lot of money and time. For example, the BT variety of cotton plant will forever be immune to the gall worm attack. Furthermore, some of these plants grow without seeds. For example, grapes earlier used to have seed and fruit was also smaller size but today using the gibberellin plant hormone the plant has been successfully modified to produce seedless and elongated variety of grapes. This increased the demand of grapes and many other fruits which had such genetic modifications. Another plant is cabbage, which was genetically modified to become leafier. So being genetically modified not only helps to pass on the same traits but also makes the plant more productive. The new changes increased the demand of these plants and helped the agricultural economy. Some people believe being genetically identical is a negative trait. In their article about risk regulation, authors Stuart Smyth and Peter Phillips talk about how badly these plants could Pawar5 be affected by a single disease if they are not immune to it. Genetically identical does mean that almost every single trait of the parent plant is passed on to the next generation as it is but this also means that these plants will have a good chance of being wiped out if hit by a plant epidemic (Smyth 173). Since they are genetically identical, it will mean that every one of these plants will either be totally immune to a disease or will be totally wiped out by a single disease. Professor Steven in his interview also stated, Professor Steven said that “if you are going to grow GMOs, you are growing same plants that is mono culture which should be avoided”. This means that being genetically identical rarely gives the plant a chance to evolve and evolution is a key to survival for any living organism. Professor Steven also stated that “Organically Produced plants have minimal benefits, I think there is no use of synthetic pesticides which may be and important health advantage but there is no difference in the nutrient content”. The only problem with genetically modified plants would be the use of synthetic pesticides, which is also being kept under control to a good extent. Organic plants cannot really match the productivity levels of these plants and GM plants have the same nutrient values too. There is one more issue people are concerned about which can also be considered to be a necessary evil. These plants are genetically identical, which means they can all be wiped out if they are hit by an epidemic plant disease. I agree with both the issues stated above but I also believe they can be resolved. The one method I see to resolve these issues is to grow the same species of a plant naturally, that is without genetic modification. Author Simo et al. also mentioned in her article that genetically identical is a trait we cannot really remove because is more of a good than harm. (Simo5052) This will give the chance for evolution which will furthermore resolve the issue of being wiped out by a plant epidemic. Pawar6 In conclusion to this research paper I would say that these plants are a wonderful gift of science to the human race. I couldn’t have imagined how the world would have overcome the shortage of food and how would be today if these plants were never invented. Of course it has some minor flaws but think again, is there anything in this world that is actually flawless? These plants are such a miracle. They are highly productive and genetically immune to most of the diseases. Furthermore, they will soon be genetically modified to make vaccines. Imagine how easy it would be for someone who isn’t that rich to access the medicines. These plants have saved lives before and with this new change it will make them even more effective. So far, Science has gifted us with wonders of electricity, clean water, internet, etc but the gift of modified plants is something which the world will be forever thank full for. Works Cited Kristina Hug, “Genetically modified organisms: do the benefits outweigh the risks?” Medicina(Kaunas) 2008;44(2), 8798. Web.25 March 2016. Lin Hui, Chih and Tzu Ming Pan, “Perspective on genetically modified crops and food detection” Journal of Food and Drug Analysis 2016;24(1),18, Web. 16 Feb 2016 Marhino C.D., F.J.O. Martins, A.T. Amaral Junior, L.S.A. Goncalves, O.J.A.P. dos Santos, D.P. Alves, B.P. Brasilerio and L.A. Peternelli, “Genetically Modified crops: Brazilian law and overview”. Genetics and Molecular Research. 52215240(2014). Web. 17 Feb 2016 Pawar7 Simo, Carolina, Carla Ibanez, Alberto Valdes, Alejandro Cifuentes and Virginia Garcia Canas, “Metabolics of genetically modified crops”. International journal of Molecular Sciences. 15(10). 1894118966. Web. 17 Web 2016 Smyth, Stuart and Peter WB Phillips. “Risk,regulation and biotechnology: The case of GM crops’ GM Crops & Food 5(3), 170177. Web 16 Feb 2016 Steven Robert, Personal Interview, 01 January 2016
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