Agriculture and Biotechnology

Essay by EnergyCoffee March 2004

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When biotechnology is put to use with the foods and animals we eat, how safe are we? Are we actually benefiting from these changes? Genetically modified food is an example of biotechnology in agriculture, and one which has brought quite a controversy to the scientific, and not-so-scientific world. There are many positive effects of genetically modified food, but many risks are also taken.

Genetic modification could be a way to offer cheaper, safer and more nutritious food. If plants were altered to produce more substance, with the same amount of seeds, prices on these products would drop. Furthermore, plants which possibly contain diseases or pesticides could be changed to be made safe for humans to eat. This not only would work for plants, but meats, and other products which can contain deadly bacteria. By altering the structure of the DNA of a plant, it's possible to select which nutrients the plant will contain, and how much of each are produced.

This is an easy way to pack more vitamins into a small amount of food, and to help humans, as well as animals.

Although there are many good reasons for genetic modification, there are also several risks and dangers. If plants were modified, but did not correctly generate what they're supposed to, how will that affect humans? Will extra nutrients prevent us from eating more of a particular food? Does hunger go away when you have the correct amount of minerals? In addition, there have been attempts to make plants frost resistant, pesticide resistant, etc. but what if this resistance transferred to something else; for example, a weed. This weed would then produce more weeds, which would produce even more. Since the offspring contains the DNA of the parent, the resistance will transfer to all of the new weeds;...