10 pages
Word Count
3748 words
Course Code

Gmos And Environment

December 16, 2016
BC 301
Science is a powerful tools which has made a huge change in our life.
The recent scientific progress in biotechnology is genetically modified organism
(GMO). The World Health Organization defines them as organisms who’s DNA
has been altered in an unnatural way. They are basically organisms that have
been produced artificially by inserting chemicals/ DNAs of a different
organisms into one to make it more resistant or last longer. The advent of GMO
brings tremendous economic benefit to human and provide the enough food for
the growing human population. The US produced 40% GMO crops in the global
area including soybean, cotton, and corn. However, many institution concern
that GMO have more negative effects on the environment rather than positive,
because of its harmful effects on the sustainable development of the ecological
environment, the damage it causes to the soil, and the toxicity that it spreads. In
this article, we will elaborate these harmful effects of GMO to the environment
including the toxicity, loss of biodiversity and the contamination to non-target
organisms, and also the benefits of it to give a fair idea of GMO. Finally, we
will conclude with the thoughts of GMO on the sustainable environmental
1. Toxicity of GMOs And Effects of GMOs on insects
GM plants are usually changed to be insect resistant, virus resistant,
or herbicide tolerant. With these changes come some potentially
problematic environmental challenges. Now that we know what GMOs are
exactly and how plants are genetically modified, we should also know the
harmful effects of these to the environment and us humans. The first most
talked about issue is the toxicity that comes with genetically modified
crops. Toxicity is a huge issue surrounding chemical pesticide and
herbicide, the genetically modified crops require a large supply of
insecticide/ herbicide to be sprayed on them for them to grow well and in
the desirable way. These large amounts of insecticides sprayed on the field
cause an increase in the levels of toxicity in the soil or on the environment.
Apart from the soil, GM crops are toxic to non-target organisms as
well such as bees, butterflies, and birds. Along with these, like I mentioned
even birds are at a great risk from pesticides because even they work as the
pollinators like the bees and butterflies. It does not just cause harm to the
pollinators, but also once the seeds have been pollinated to non GM fields, it
spreads the toxicity and the DNA of GMOs to the naturally grown plants
contaminating them as well.
Another problem with GM plants is that they are made in a way to be
insect, virus or pest resistant, but there is a possibility that the insects
could become resistant to the lethal proteins. This could be a problem for
the transgenic Bt plants such a corn, potatoes, and cotton. The potential of
pests to develop resistance against the defense mechanisms of crops is
well-known and is not unique to genetically engineered plants. It is noted
that, “pests that are targeted by these agricultural methods can adapt to
pesticides and herbicides, in addition to the DNA changes in GM plants to
make them resistant to external agents. This means that they will not
always be effective, but their toxic effects will remain” (Ayesha Mehrotra,
GMO Foods- A Slow Death?)
2. Herbicide tolerance, Biodiversity and Pollution of soil
GMO improves the plants yield higher comparing with conventional
farming by making them tolerant to pest, weeds, herbicides, insects, and
salinity. This bio technique engines the lethal genome for certain insect,
weed, or element to the target plant, which means “the plants genetically
modified to express toxins that render then resistant to certain target insect
pests” (Scientific committees. 2015. P.18). This will bring a tremendous
damage to the environment because the famers must try excessive
application of harmful pesticide or herbicide chemicals. However,
unfortunately, such scenario has become true in America currently. Food &
Water Watch examined the U.S department of agriculture and U.S
environmental protection agency data to report the interdependent
relationship between the herbicide-tolerant GM crops and increasing use of
herbicide (2014).
Moreover, another important environmental risk of GMO is the”
threat to the biodiversity from the genetic transfer from GMO to native
plants species”(Wunderlich, S. and Vecchione, M. 2014. P.449). The first
reason is that the undesirable traits from the wild type crops will no longer
available, and only variety of certain crop with desirable traits is present in
large amounts. Secondly, once the modified gene escaped to the nature

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