23 September 2016
In the United States, the use of genetically modified crops as opposed to organic crops has increased dramatically in the last couple of decades. As the need for certain crops increases, the amount of money to be made has also increased. The use of GMO’s has decreased the cost of growing crops while increasing productivity. In the paper I will be writing, I want to discuss the negatives associated with the increased production of genetically modified crops. The argument I will be making is that there are more issues caused by gene transplanting and gene crossing than benefits gained by modifying the crops. The first negative I will discuss will be the increase in negative effects the GMO’s have on people, such as higher toxicity and resistance to antibiotics. Another issue with GMO’s is the ability to trigger allergies in humans and animals.
Genetically modified crops have a negative effect on humans for several reasons. The use of certain chemicals on the crops increases the resistance they have against antibiotics. The concern with this is that animals and humans who consume GMO’s with a resistance to antibiotics may have bacteria from the GMO’s inside of them and some of the bacteria of the humans could pick up the resistant gene. This is a concern because if that gene is inherited or passed over to the human or animal, they will be more vulnerable to disease. It is possible to tell if a certain GMO has the resistant gene, however it would require too much time and resources to check every crop for the gene. It is impractical, and therefore will not happen.
According to Cornell University’s GEO-PIE project, certain plants produce toxic substances that could adversely affect humans and animals. The concern that this raises is that when genes are inserted into crops, there is a risk that the amount of toxic substances produced by the plants could increase or become more dangerous. Also if a plant feels stressed or senses danger, it could excrete more dangerous substance which could be very harmful to people and plants who consume them. The example they use is that potatoes bred to increase resistance to disease produce higher levels of toxins. This can help the crops because disease won’t affect them, but the effects of the toxins could be harmful.
Another issue with genes inserted into genetically modified crops is where the genes come from. For instance, if a gene for disease resistance comes from a food that causes allergies in humans, the gene could express the allergen that the people are allergic to, like soy or peanut allergies. A huge issue with this is that it wouldn’t be easy to know that the allergen can be expressed. Another issue is that new allergens can be produced with genes being crossed. If that is the case, there could be a dangerous allergen created for humans, animals, and plants.
There have been some experiments conducted with animals and GMO’s. For instance, a study connected GMO consumption to tumors in rats, and another study linked it to premature death in rats.
Genetically modifying crops as opposed to growing them organically is immoral and dangerous to humans and animals that will be affected directly.
Cornell University’s Genetically Engineered Organisms Public Issues Education Project (GEO-PIE). August 8, 2003.
“GMO: Harmful Effects.” GMO: Harmful Effects. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Sept. 2016.
Frazier, Karen. “GMO Statistics.” LoveToKnow. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Sept. 2016.
Publications, Inc. Ogden. “Longest-Running GMO Safety Study Finds Tumors in Rats – Natural Health – MOTHER EARTH NEWS.” Mother Earth News. N.p., 22 Feb. 2013. Web. 24