Genetically Engineered Crops Essay

1485 words - 6 pages

Everyone should stop recycling. Everyone should drive their
gasoline cars more, leave the lights on, let the water run, and go
wild with any noxious chemicals, regardless of our aquatic friends.
After all, even with all of these environment preserving activities,
we could still greatly damage our ecosystems. The cause of this
is simply because of the technological pollution caused by the use
of genetically engineered crops. These plants are different in
that they have had genes inserted into their genetic code, giving
them added traits which are suppose to aid them in producing
greater yield or defending against insects and disease, amongst
other benefits. But their ...view middle of the document...

For example, the tomato plant and a related inedible plant
with nematode resistance were mated together in the ‘30s and
‘40s to pass along this resistance to the tomato plant. However,
even though the mating worked, the cross-pollination, as Charles
Gasser, an associate professor of molecular and cellular biology at
the University of California-Davis says, “brought with it 50 or
100 other genes” (Phillips, Sect. Overview, par. 33). The concern
here is that the extra genes could have produced side-effects
that would have made the plant enedible or worse. Another
concern with selective breeding is the amount of time it would
take to produce a variety that would consistently display the
wanted trait. According to agricultural experts, such an endeavor could take up to 10 years (Hosansky, Sect. In The Beginning, par.
4). Genetic engineering helps to solve these issues by allowing
scientists to isolate and manipulate individual genes, which not
only prevents other genes from being inserted into future
generations, but allows scientists to directly apply that gene,
preventing the wait needed for see if plants have successfully
passed on the correct gene. Working faster to produce designer
plants though, much like driving at high speeds, prevents us from
seeing that there are dangers to utilizing this hasty method.
Thedangers that genetically engineered crops entail include
allergens and toxins produced by the inserted genes. Allergens
are substances that can active an allergic response in certain
individuals. Because the trait-causing genes are from other
organisms, there is the possibility of passing along any allergycausing abilities that organism had. Allergic reactions can range anywhere from a simple rash to constriction of the bronchi,
leading to anaphylactic shock, a cause of death. However,
allergens are a natural occurrence in many natural crops. The only
problem with genetic engineering is that crops which once did not
cause allergens, may gain that trait from inserted genes. Toxins,
on the other hand, are simply dangerous inside of the body. They
are normally used to protect the plant from parasites and other
pests, but are created to manifest only in the leaves, stem, and
root regions, not the portion that we consume. However, through
pleiotrophic effects, which is defined as additional traits
produced by one or more genes, toxins may unexpectedly end up
in the edible portion. An example of this is the Lenape potato,
which was bred for its high-density starch content but was pulled
from the market because it contained high concentrations of the
toxic solanine (Phillips, Sect. Background, par. 24). The possibility of introducing toxins and allergens into our food supply
could cause harmful effects in people and even kill them. Our
health though, is not the most important concern caused by
genetic engineering.
The second danger of genetic...

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