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Genetically-modified foods have the potential to solve many of the world's hunger and malnutrition problems, and to help protect and preserve the environment by increasing yield and reducing reliance upon chemical pesticides and herbicides. Yet there are many challenges ahead for governments, especially in the areas of safety testing, regulation, international policy and food labeling. Many people feel that genetic engineering is the inevitable wave of the future and that we cannot afford to ignore a technology that has such enormous potential benefits. However, we must proceed with caution to avoid causing unintended harm to human health and the environment as a result of our enthusiasm for this powerful technology.
+ In 2006, the US Department of Agriculture, a chief proponent of GM crops, for the first time acknowledged that GM crop yields are not greater than those of conventional crops, and a compelling number of studies by independent scientists demonstrate that GM crop yields are lower than, or at best equivalent to, yields from non-GM varieties.
+ In the last decade, cotton production has declined in the majority of countries that have adopted GM cotton like Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, South Africa and Australia, and significant drops in GM cotton production are forecasted in 2006 for South Africa and Mexico.
Originally posted by Long Lance
While we are at it: why again are we seemingly compelled to find arguments against GM crops when there hardly seem to be any in their favor? will someone show me conclusively positive examples of GM crop use?
What are some of the advantages of GM foods?
The world population has topped 6 billion people and is predicted to double in the next 50 years. Ensuring an adequate food supply for this booming population is going to be a major challenge in the years to come. GM foods promise to meet this need in a number of ways:
Pest resistance Crop losses from insect pests can be staggering, resulting in devastating financial loss for farmers and starvation in developing countries. Farmers typically use many tons of chemical pesticides annually. Consumers do not wish to eat food that has been treated with pesticides because of potential health hazards, and run-off of agricultural wastes from excessive use of pesticides and fertilizers can poison the water supply and cause harm to the environment. Growing GM foods such as B.t. corn can help eliminate the application of chemical pesticides and reduce the cost of bringing a crop to market4, 5.
Herbicide tolerance For some crops[...]
Disease resistance There are many viruses, fungi and bacteria that cause plant diseases. Plant biologists are working to create plants with genetically-engineered resistance to these diseases[...]
Cold tolerance Unexpected frost can destroy sensitive seedlings. An antifreeze gene from cold water fish has been introduced into plants such as tobacco and potato. With this antifreeze gene, these plants are able to tolerate cold temperatures that normally would kill unmodified seedlings.[...]
Drought tolerance/salinity tolerance As the world population grows and more land is utilized for housing instead of food production, farmers will need to grow crops in locations previously unsuited for plant cultivation. [...]
Nutrition Malnutrition [...]
Pharmaceuticals Medicines and vaccines [...]
Phytoremediation Not all GM plants are grown as crops. Soil and groundwater pollution continues to be a problem in all parts of the world. Plants such as poplar trees have been genetically engineered to clean up heavy metal pollution from contaminated soil18.
Since we began in January 2000, we have collected endorsements from more than 3,400 international scientists who have signed our Declaration of Support for Agricultural Biotechnology to improve agriculture in the developing world.
Signers include 25 Nobel Prize winners and other prestigious scientists.
Click here to read and sign the "Declaration of Support of Agricultural Biotechnology"
Originally posted by Long Lance
it's a valid experiment, but the experience with GM crops is sobering, i don't see why animals would be any different (if the same techniques are used). besides, that's like taking anti-enflammatory drugs to combat allergies, i'd rather eliminate the cause than go chasing side effects of the latest wonder cure, but i'm probably a sceptic.
PS: i'm not trying to spread FUD here, it's just that far too many empty promises have been made wrt GMOs, so broad claims of immunity shouldn't be taken at face value.
While Monsanto walked away with its first year profits from selling prohibitively expensive inferior seeds, the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) in India gets ready to accord approval to yet another strain(s) of Bt cotton for the northwestern parts of the country and too after a hurridly conducted one-year of farm trials. Cotton farmers, in the bargain, have been left high and dry.
That in the very first year of commercial planting, Bt cotton should be faced with American bollworm attack (the insect against which it is supposedly resistant), is a clear pointer to the fact that the science/technology was not at all perfect. Bt cotton has also seen an increased infestation of other sucking pests. The crop came under an increased attack of wilt disease and of course has proved to be a water guzzler. And as far as the economics is concerned, it has gone wrong everywhere.