The Benefits and Risks of Transgenic Crops.

Essay by desmond007High School, 10th gradeA, April 2003

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The benefits and risks of transgenic Crops

Agricultural science is one of the largest fields in which biotechnological progresses can benefit us directly. Ever since mankind learned to cultivate plants for food and product, it is always an area of strong interest that is directly and closely associated with our daily life and our very survival. With the modern progresses on genetic it is possible to precisely control various characteristic of crops, thus enabling as to modify crops to more desirable strains. Such control over the genetic traits of crops can bring about enormous economical and medical benefits to the society, but our new-found power should only be used wisely with consideration to the complex moral issues and significant ecological impacts and risks that may arise.

(Byrne, P., 2000)

The purpose of a cross is to bring desirable traits such as pest or drought resistance, increased yield, or better taste from parents into a new plant.

Traditional cross breeding have very limited application because the wild relatives with desirable characteristics may not be sexually compatible with other parent plants, so other means of transferring the genetic material are needed. Many of such techniques involve genetic engineering or gene recombination that could transfer genetic constructs across biological boundary. Transgenic crops commonly referred, as genetically modified crops are the final products created using these genetic and biotechnological methods.

Scientists have succeeded in transferring a gene from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) to economical plants like corn and cotton. Bt is a common soil bacterium with the ability to kill a variety of insects; it has been used as a pesticide for more than 15 years. But routine aero-sprays are costly and are not as effective as the pest-resistant Bt crops because the insecticidal characteristic of the latter is very persistent. (Byrne, P., 2000) Another...