#164 Social implications of GMO

There are social implications related to using genetically modified organisms in food production.

  • modified crop plants become agricultural weeds and invade crop habitats
  • intoduced gene(s) may be transferred by pollen:
             – to wild relatives –> more invasive hybrid offspring
             – to unmodified plants on farms with organic certification
  • modified plants can be toxic and produce allergies –> fatal to humans and animals that eat it
  • herbicides will leave toxic residues on crops
  • genetically modified seeds are as expensive as herbicides –> no advantage
  • growers need to buy new seeds every season
  • loss of traditional varieties
19.3 Genetically modified organisms in agriculture 

The ability to manipulate genes has many potential benefits in agriculture, but the implications of releasing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) into the environment are subject to much public debate in some countries.

a) explain the significance of genetic engineering in improving the quality and yield of crop plants and livestock in solving the demand for food in the world, e.g. Bt maize, vitamin A enhanced rice (Golden riceTM) and GM salmon 

b) outline the way in which the production of crops such as maize, cotton, tobacco and oil seed rape may be increased by using varieties that are genetically modified for herbicide resistance and insect resistance 

c) discuss the ethical and social implications of using genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food production

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