Genetic engineering has more negative impacts than positive.
A segment of society believes that crops grown with genetic engineering have more negative impacts than positive on the society while others believe that it is the need of the hour.
Analytically discuss both sides of the statement and take a stand.
Genetically Modified (GM) crops are those food products that have been manufactured with the help of advanced biotechnology for human consumption. GM crops are created with the intention of selecting the healthiest crops, and eliminating any flaws in the seeds and the produce. Genetic engineering augments favorable qualities in the crops. GM crops also reduce the need for pesticides, by increasing the crop’s resistance to pests. The most common products of genetically modified crops include maize, BT cotton, wheat, potatoes, etc.
GM crops-boon or bane?
There are several arguments both in favor of and against the use of GM crops. Scientists and economists say that GM crops are in the best interest of both economy and society. Environmentalists and another camp of scientists argue that it is harmful to the environment. Let us take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of GM crops.
The advantages include the following:
• Reduced cost of production-Despite the fact that GM seeds are comparatively more expensive, these costs are offset by the overall savings. GM crops do not require pesticides or insecticides, thereby reducing these expenses. It also results in greater yields; corresponding to higher profits. Apart from that, GM crops are disease resistant, tolerant to draught and salt (in the soil), and are immune to herbicides that destroy weeds.
• Increased employment opportunities-The use of advanced technology generates employment opportunities for several people. Apart from the employment generated in research, there is a greater need for manpower during harvest, due to increased produce.
• More profits for farmers-Some studies have shown that farmers’ profits go up, mainly due to the increased yield due to the genetically modified seeds.
• Cost and health benefits-As the seeds are genetically engineered to produce healthy crop, it directly results in better health for the consumers. With the resistance of the crops towards harmful pesticides and insecticides, the ill effects of these chemicals are also removed.
The disadvantages include the following:
• Damage to cell tissue during the modification process- The procedure of modification involves invasive modification, which can cause damage to the cell tissue of the plant.
• Cancer threat-As with anything man-made, GM products also have the risk of carrying carcinogens.
• Possibility of allergy-It might create allergies in people who eat GM crops due to the methods involved.
While there will always be two sides to anything, it appears as though as of now, the benefits of using GM are greater for all parties involved. It will be in the interest of health, the environment, and the economic gains to continue the use of GM seeds in agriculture.