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takingsides - Kazaks 1 Maia Kazaks EnvSt3 Jennifer Mon5pm...

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Kazaks 1 Maia Kazaks May 23, 2005 EnvSt3 Jennifer Mon5pm Taking Sides #9, 21 Transgenics: Production and Safety Genetic modification, developed theoretically in the 1970’s to become somewhat widespread in practice by the 1990’s and today, has many names. But whether one titles it transgenic technology, genetic engineering, genetic modification or genetically modified (GM) technology, it is still moving genes “from one organism to another and thus (in principle) [giving] bacteria, plants, animals new features” (Easton, Goldfarb 154). This can be viewed as a miracle of science or meddling with the natural plan, but more than anything it is an opportunity. Taking Sides asks, “Is Genetic Engineering an Environmentally Sound Way to Increase Food Production?” The Royal Society of London argues (with academies of science from United States, India, China, Mexico, Brazil and the Third World) in its report, “Transgenic Plants and World Agriculture,” that genetically modified (GM) crops are simply the next step in selective breeding and offer a solution to end hunger while maintaining the environment. Brian Halweil from the Worldwatch Institute insists that instead of protecting the environment GMOs would breed pests with higher resistance and should be used sparingly, for studying crop pathogens. Both of these sides recognize the potential slew of problems, environmental and economic, originating from GM technology. The Royal Society of London and other national academies of science (RSL) offer “recommendations” and a scientific perspective to the discussion of the role of GM technology. The RSL first describes the world’s need for GM crops and the deprived state that the third world is suffering through, including malnutrition, poverty,
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Kazaks 2 unemployment and starvation. Producing more food would fix these problems, but our food crop production has not been increasing as much as previous years due to biotic and abiotic stresses. RSL claims that transgenic crops can overcome the insect infestations and poor soil, resulting in more food. The RSL elaborates that GM technologies could offer crops that resist pests, have reduced environmental impact, improve yields, utilize marginalized land, provide nutritional benefits, and produce pharmaceuticals. It then goes on to say the effect of transgenic plants on human health and environmental safety is minimal or could be altered to become minimal, but recommend that “public health regulatory systems” should be put in place to make information available and monitor potential health effects. This is definitely an optimistic view of the issue. This report tries to be humanistic and emphasizes the consumer and individual, demonstrating results that are passed down to the average citizen. It is important to note that the half of the authors of this report are practically the founders of GM techniques or are heavily invested in the countries that are. They would certainly financially love a
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