Thesis Final Draft

Thesis Final Draft - I Introduction A genetically modified...

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I. Introduction A genetically modified organism, or GMO, is an organism whose genetic material has been altered through inserting and deleting of genes in an organism’s genome. This process is also known as genetic engineering or biotech engineering. Biological and medical research has seen some of the greatest applications of biotech engineering, especially in producing pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines. The agricultural sector has also experienced a rise in the production of biotechnology products. One variety of these genetically modified products is genetically modified crops; this is the most common application of genetically modified technologies. Since the beginning of production of genetically modified crops in the 1990s the farming and cultivation of these crops has grown exponentially. Among genetically modified crops, there is an increasingly prevalence of genetically modified food, food products, feeds and fibers in the agricultural sector. Globally the most common genetically engineered crops are corn, cotton, alfalfa, canola, soybeans, and wheat. Through DNA recombinant technologies genomes of different species to that of the crop being genetically modified, may be inserted into the crop’s genome. Most commonly, crops are modified to contain pesticides and herbicides, however, advanced technologies have allowed for genes from animal species to be inserted into the crop’s genome. By the year 2006, there were 252 million acres of transgenic crops planted across twenty two countries and cultivated by ten million farmers. By 2010, twenty nine countries worldwide grew genetically modified crops and cultivated by 15.4 million farmers 1 . Of these countries which grew genetically modified crops, the United States grew over 53% of these crops. An American 1 Federoff, Nina F. "Engineering Food for All." New York Times. 18 Aug. 2011. Web. 17 Nov. 2011.
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biotechnology firm, Monsanto, controls 88% of the world’s genetically modified crops, which amounts to around 246 million acres cultivated 2 . While the United States is leading the way in the innovation, production, and sale of genetically modified crops, fifteen countries of the European Union have placed a moratorium on agricultural biotechnology, especially genetically modified crops. This moratorium bans the production, cultivation, and importation of genetically modified crops. This has been the source of major controversy between the United States and the European Union. No distinct pattern of acceptance or rejection has been observed in developed and developing nations. Canada and Argentina are two other major proponents of agricultural biotechnology. While countries such as Venezuela, Zambia, and India are following the European Union’s example of banning genetically modified crops, especially as a food source. The result of contention between diverging views of the value of genetically modified crops has resulted in a variety of controversies. These controversies have brought forth issues of defining the role economic interests’ play in
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Thesis Final Draft - I Introduction A genetically modified...

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