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Genetically Modified Organisms as a Solution to World Hunger

Transgenic crops could alleviate malnutrition in developing countries. But what are the economic, ecological, political, and cultural implications of their use? Do we harvest the potential to really combat the issue of world hunger, or...do GMO's...?

Ellie Price

on 15 March 2011

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Transcript of Genetically Modified Organisms as a Solution to World Hunger

Double click anywhere & add an idea Transgenic Soybeans needy farmer Transgenic crops are GMO's in which the DNA has been altered in a specific way, usually to increase crop yield or add a vital nutrient. Genes can be transferred
from one plant to another,
or introduced from non-plant
species. B.t. genes a naturally occuring
bacterium that produces
crystal proteins which are
toxic to insect larvae Genetic resistance to drought, viruses, and weedkillers give farmers the freedom to use fewer herbicides and insecticides: a plus for the environment. It also helps ensure sufficient crop yields in locations where drought may persist and otherwise lead to famine. How GMO's function The problem of world hunger:
a closer look STARVATION MALNUTRITION PAIN WEAKNESS rampant DISEASE The majority of hunger-related deaths are not caused by
starvation in itself, but by nutrient deficiency diseases. !

What if 3rd world
countries who
depend on staple
crops could grow
enhanced versions
of those staples
containing the very
nutrients their diets
lack whose absence
is causing fatal disease? kwashiorkor mineral deficiencies:
iron and iodine vitamin A deficiency
Biotechnologists are also
developing tomato and potato
plants that contain edible vaccines.
These have not yet been introduced
to the market. HALT: what are the potential consequences of using GMO's? Decreased biodiversity:
ex: Pollen containing B.t. gene
landing on milkweed,
killing butterflies Insects developing resistance
to the toxin genes cross-breeding create male sterile
GMO's or introduce
gene in another location buffer crops
*impractical* isolated fields So perhaps use of GMOs poses these potential problems. In
light of the issues addressed, let's rewind and take another
look at this essential question: People's attitude towards food
varies from region to region.
In some cultures, food may have
religious or historical
connotations. What would using
golden rice, for example,
mean to one of these? Green light: Go! benefits of using GMO's Crop yields on existing land could be increased
by about 20%, feeding a growing world
population (ex: India may decide the benefits outweigh
the risks due to its extreme poverty and overpopulation)
Land that was previously infertile
could be used due to drought-resistant,
hardy crops engineered for the harsh
Farmers could grow plants
that contain edible vaccines;
these could be more convenient
to distribute than medical supplies,
especially in developing nations USDA and AHPIS currently have strict criteria for granting permits for GMO's (ex: the genetic material introduced into the GMO must be stably integrated into the plant's own genome) A proposal has recently been made encouraging
researching universities to share their intellectual
property through a "developing country license": the universities would retain rights for research and education and negotiating power with biotech and pharmaceutical industries, while needy nations would have fewer hoops to jump through to access the GMO's Similarly, big seed companies could avoid using patents to protect crops, through a Plant Variety Protection program which would allow farmers to reuse their seeds while the companies would be able to coniute to conduct research with the seeds Proceed with caution I fully support the use
of transgenic crops to
help alleviate hunger
in developing and third world
countries. However, the true
roadblocks to a coup are highly
political. Because of economic,
political, and societal constraints,
there really is no universal solution
to world hunger. Use of GMO's may
help the issue, but is not "the answer."
In my opinion, the lives their use
does save makes worthy the pursuit
of using the technology as so.
THE PATENT PROBLEM interest of the big
companies, enforcement,
infringement Rockefeller vs. Monsanto Consumer Misconceptions *FDA regulation
*demand for labeling vs. cost
*recent food scares -> distrust
of government
*government distrust in politically
instable nations
*long term human health, allergies

sustainability To really tackle the hunger issue, long-term sustainability must be taken into account.

Much hunger stems from environmental instability.

Buchanan is quoted in a book saying:

“In Africa, ppl are forced to grow crops on very marginal lands that are overcultivated. They chop down trees for fuelwood. And as the population expands, ppl are forced to farm on less-fertile land and to exhaust it more quickly. They are not in the position to allow natural resources to regenerate because their survival is at stake.”
soil erosion desertification overgrazing root stripping
blowing soil fills
irrigation ditches old seed varieties
fall by the wayside:
genetic diversity decreases infertile land nutrient depletion Bibliogrophy Torr, James D. Genetic Engineering: Opposing Viewpoints. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven, 2001. Print. Burby, Liza N. World Hunger. San Diego: Lucent, 1995. Print. Yount, Lisa. The Ethics of Genetic Engineering. San Diego, Calif.: Greenhaven, 2002. Print. Whitman, Deborah B. "Genetically Modified Foods: Harmful or Helpful?" CSA. Apr. 2000. Web. 07 June 2010. <http://www.csa.com/discoveryguides/gmfood/overview.php>. Conway, Gordon. "Conservation Ecology: Genetically Modified Crops: Risks and Promise." Ecology and Society. The Resilience Alliance, 2000. Web. 07 June 2010. <http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol4/iss1/art2>. World Health Organization. "WHO | 20 Questions on Genetically Modified Foods." Food Safety. 2010. Web. 07 June 2010. <http://www.who.int/foodsafety/publications/biotech/20questions/en/>. Coleman, Gerald D. "Is Genetic Engineering the Answer to Hunger?" America Magazine. 21 Feb. 2005. Web. 07 June 2010. <http://www.americamagazine.org/content/article.cfm?article_id=4027>.
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