Before I began this project, when I heard the term "Genetic Engineering" I thought of scientists in laboratories creating new species. Thoughts of many men and women in an all white laboratory hunched over an object that was being manipulated and created filled my mind. *Clarify what you meant about the "white laboratory" because it sounded like you were making a comment on the race of the scientists (that's what I thought haha). However; as I started looking into genetically engineered crops, I realized it was much more than that. Instead of men in a isolated lab, genetic engineering consists of so much more, specifically when focused on the modification of crops. Here, it becomes something that can possibly change the world with the new advances today. The improvements we are making now is opening up completely new opportunities. Opportunities that, before genetic engineering, were never thought possible. Now that we have genetic engineering, we have a kind of power that can help millions. In the world of genetic engineering, the engineering of crops really stands out due to the controversy that surrounds it, the pros and cons of crop modification, the improvements of the genetically engineered crop, and how the newly improved crop assists mankind and benefits the world.
The world's problems regarding crops is are more and more becoming more and more of a present-day and daunting issue. We are currently producing children so fast that we are reaching a point that is unsustainable - a number that we simply cannot feed anymore. On top of that, as salt gets in the soil, valuable farmland is lost. This is the same farmland that grows everyday crops. This is the same farmland that produces the very staples that are found on every dinner plate around the world, including the wheat used to bake healthy bread for a delicious sandwich to the sugar grown to manufacture mouth-watering candy! We don't realize how much of our food is actually grown from soil. In addition, we are not the only species that relies on crops. The animals that are bred and raised for our own nutrition are fed from crops as well. A real and significant concern is that as the population is skyrocketing, crop production is dropping to an all-time low. As rain falls and the water evaporates, it leaves salt in the soil. With all this salt in the soil, the crops that are planted hit the salt and will not grow. This is because salt dehydrates the plant and the water storage in all of the plant's cells shrivel up and die, ultimately killing the plants. Genetically engineering crops is a great way to be sustainable in maintaining all of our crop production and in the end to turn our faults in to massive successes!
What is genetic engineering? This is a common question because of the fact that a lot of people are very unfamiliar with the topic of it. Genetic engineering is the process in which you can take genes from one organism and place them into another organism for various reasons. Also, undesirable genes can be transferred out and substituted for more desirable genes if wanted. If change is desired on a large scale, it will take a longer time. As organisms are genetically engineered , not only does one gene have to be changed but you also have to breed that newly changed species that has been created. This results in a snowball effect (Anonymous 2013, 1). For genetically engineered crops however; there is no breeding involved. So geneticists can now isolate, and manipulate the gene very quickly and accurately. With a plants' asexual reproduction system, it now copies its genes onto its offspring. The genetically engineered gene now carries on to the offspring, and so on. This happens forever, until another change is introduced (Whitman 2000, 2). Genetically engineering is a revolution in technology. This knowledge changes everything about farming. Crops can be grown in locations that they were never grown in before and plants can be engineered to even grow out-of-season. This allows crops to be grown anywhere in the world and whenever they are needed or wanted. With these new innovations, the world has the potential of limitless opportunities for mass producing food.
*I think this paragraph should come before the first one because it introduces genetic engineering.
In many ways, genetic engineering is a massive controversy of whether or not it benefits mankind. For a very long time, people have argued that genetically engineering crops is bad and can wreck havoc on our lives and environment. They profess that genetically engineering plants mostly benefits the farmer who is using the genetic modification for his own financial gain (McWilliams and Beachy 2013,1). European environmental organizations and public "get together groups" have been protesting genetically engineered crops. They are unhappy about the genetically engineered corn pollen and its effects on the monarch butterfly. This is one of the many controversial issues being debated today (Whitman 2000, 1). Genetic engineering is considered a "hot" topic that comes with much discussion and disagreement. Differing groups cannot make up their minds on whether or not to start fully putting time and money into new inventions.
*Go more into depth about the genetically engineered corn pollen and the effects on the monarch butterfly.
However, even with all the controversy, it seems that they benefits of crop engineering are obvious. Many believe that genetically engineering crops should be increased, due to the fact that it is so crucial to feeding the world. Currently, there is enough food to feed the world, but as the population increases, our farmland decreases, so we need more options (Lathigra 2013,1) One of the biggest advantages of genetically engineered crops is that the issue of salinity and drought - both major world obstacles to crop production - are addressed. Increased levels of salinity in the soil, along with years of drought, create huge limitations on agricultural production world wide (Sacamoto 1999,1). With all the advantages that genetically engineering crops provide, it is no wonder that continued funding and increased engineering is encouraged and supported.
Looking at all the things that a genetically engineered crop can provide, it is easy to see why genetically modifying a crop can change it in a good way. One of the many improved plants is forage crops. Forage crops "are critical to the livestock industry and sustainable agriculture worldwide." The forage crops are on a seasonal schedule, so they don't grow all year. The forage crops only grow during seasons where it is warm. So with genetic engineering, the geneticists were able to implant the gene for cold growth (Yu-Wang and Brummer 2012,1). Many crops have been modified simply, such as an increased resistance to pesticide or more nutritional value. Another changed crop is corn. Bacillis Thuringienisis is a bacteria that produces small crystals that are only poisonous to insect larvae. Geneticists have implanted the Bacillis Thuringienisis gene into corn, so insect larvae isn't aren't interested in eating corn anymore. Now corn is produced even quicker, due to the lack of insect larvae corn consumption (Whitman 2000,2). These are just some of the ground-breaking ways crops are being adapted to solve problems that relate to the location and season they are grown, but also to the pests and threats they face. There is a revolution happening in crop engineering and the technology scientists possess has the power to change most crop growth production problems. *The last sentence doesn't makes sense.
As mentioned above, some people would like genetically engineering crops to be in continue, while others fight for it to end. Even with all the benefits, there are negatives as well. One thing that frustrates farmers specifically is the pesticide resistance in crops. The pesticide resistance gene has seeped into the ground and gone into the weeds in the farmland, so now farmers are complaining that they have to spray pesticides, such as Roundup, over the weed more than once because of the pesticide resistance in toe weeds (Hart 2013, 1). This happens in field after field. It is a problem in the gene flow that causes anything around it to have a similar gene. The transgenes that come off the genetically engineered plant flow into the soil, and go into other plants around it. Now this can be very good if growing one specific crop, because then all crops will have the desired gene. But most farmers grow different crops within the same soil. This is problematic, as you won't want the same gene in all of the different crops for various reasons (Gray 2013, 1). There are definite pros and cons to genetically engineering crops. Many scientists are working diligently to discover ways to keep the benefits and eliminate the problems that come from genetic engineering in order to benefit agriculture today.
Out of necessity, most people have acknowledged the advantages of genetically engineered crops. Currently, over half of the world's population are living in countries that have accepted genetically engineered crops. The overregulation of the genetically engineered food isn't scientific evidence, like most people believe, but it is actually in response to a global campaign that puts aside the fears of these genetically engineered crops (Chassy 2013, 1). Currently, the population stands around 9 billion people, and that number is supposed to double in the next 50 years. With all this growth, the world is starting to realize that genetic engineering is very helpful, and in the hard stretch ahead, it is necessary. The lack of crop growth due to various reasons is starting to become very clear that it is needed and important (Whitman 2000, 3). The world is accepting the fact that we need genetic engineering to maintain crop production, especially in harsh climates.
Not only does genetic engineering help us, but it can also improve the quantity of the crop. Many plants have adapted to their own environment and their genes have changed to better equip them for life. To improve quantity of the crop, you can take the gene of one plant and put in another. For example, if there is one plant that only grows in hot, warm environments and another plant that grows in freezing, cold weather, scientists are now able to locate the hot growth gene and transfer that into the cold climate plant. This results in the unique ability to grow a certain crop anywhere one pleases, all through the use of genetic engineering (Yang 2010,1). The Bacillis Thuringienisis (the insect larvae killing bacteria) has been used in multiple crops. The Bacillis Thuringienisis creates small crystals on a crop and if an insect larvae eats it, the larvae will die. This increases the quantity of the crop significantly by eliminating the pest. Now, all of those eaten or infected crops are going to be clean, uninfected crops that can make money (Whitman 2000, 2). With genetic engineering, crop production increases on an extreme level in multiple cases. With all these new improvements, this can cure world hunger issues, allows mankind to produce disease free crops in most any environment and climate. *Fix last sentence.
In genetic engineering, there have been some major advances in technology. The new developments and innovations only increase the success found in this field. One of the new innovations is found through the genetic engineering of flowers. For the most part, flowers are not grown to be edible, but rather for enjoyment. In 2011, the United States spent over $31.1 billion dollars on decorative flowers. One of the many things the geneticists are changing in flowers is their scent. Over the last few years, geneticists have been manipulating genetic changes in flowers at the cost of the flowers scent. Although flowers might now last a little longer or grow a little more quickly, they no longer smell as sweet. Recently, geneticists worked to enhance the flowers scent (Breyer 2012, 1). In addition, geneticists creating color change in flowers, producing flowers that have colors that are impossible for nature to create. Blue is one of these colors. Blue roses cannot be made because of genetic limitations in roses. But after 20 years of research, Japan created blue roses by genetically inserting a delphinidin-producing gene from a blue pansy into roses. They were such a hit in Japan, they sold for approximately $30 a blue rose (Breyer 2012, 2). Another leap in flower engineering has been flowers that are grown with a decreased pollen count. Sneeze-free blooms, for people with allergies, are being promised. Researchers from Spain have now found a way to create flowers that don't spread allergens. They genetically altered the bacteria for a plant disease that now increases the plant's hormones. Then, they modified another gene that stops the production of pollen. The researchers grew the new genetically engineered plants (Breyer 2012, 3). These new innovations are just a few examples of genetic engineering in areas other than edible crops.
Clearly, genetic engineering has made its own niche in the environment of science. Although it's a major controversy whether genetic engineering should be applied to a large amount of our crops, it still has made many breakthroughs. Looking at genetic engineering, we can clearly see all the ways that it can benefit us. From the new increased quantity of the crop to the increased ability to grow crops anywhere, the options are almost limitless for what we can do with this new power. But with a power as great as this, there are some disadvantages, which is the cause of an extensive controversy. A lot of people have finally come to the conclusion that we need genetic engineering. If we don't use it, then the results will be far worse than if we do. With this logic in mind, the new innovations in genetically engineering crops are giant steps forward from the technology we previously had.
Your report is really good besides a couple of sentences that don't really make sense. But overall, it's very well-written! (: