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Genetic Modifications Essay

Words: 886 Length: 3 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 99188165

Genetic Technology

Ronald (2014) outlines some of the advancements that have been made in agricultural technology, including crop improvement, and how these have helped us to feed a rapidly growing human population. She notes that translational research is research that has been translated to agricultural practice. Some of the outcomes of this research include market assisted selection, which is a refined plant breeding technique; genetic engineering, where plants have their genes altered for a variety of reasons; and genome editing, which involves precisely altering DNA sequences in living cells, which is likely to lead to new crop varieties in the future.

Ronald also advocates for the translation of this research to aid subsistence farmers. She notes several advances, such as drought-resistant corn, rice with added Vitamin A and eggplant that is bred to be resistant to certain pests. The thrust of her paper is that there needs to be more support for genetic technologies. Where there is a high level of public skepticism, she claims that there is a link between this and high regulatory costs. This means that there is little incentive to develop solutions for subsistence or specialty crops. She does not, however, present evidence of this link, and this undermines her argument. She is essentially citing problems in the GMO industry and ascribing without evidence blame on people who oppose GMO food. This weak rhetorical tactic undermines her earlier points.


The article reflects biology course material, and in particular it reflects the readings on genetic engineering. Chapter 10 covers this subject. Genomics, for example, is defined in the text as "the study of genomes, a broad field that encompasses whole-genome comparisons, structural analysis of gene products…" Ronald's article specifically cites genome editing as an emerging area of genetic engineering, drawing on knowledge of genomics to create food products with specific attributes through genomic manipulation.

The chapter's section on genetic engineering highlights many of the other techniques that Ronald (2014) describes as well. It explains what a genetically-modified organism is and directly discusses "designer plants." The text explains the concepts as they relate to the biology, while the Ronald article notes some of the uses for the technology. The text also notes some of the uses as examples of how genetic engineering works, and why people do it. In that sense there is overlap between the Ronald article and the text.

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Ronald, P. (2014). Lab to farm: Applying research on plant genetics and genomics to crop improvement. PLOS Biology. Vol. 12 (6) 1-6.

Starr, C., Evers, C.A., & Starr, L. (2013). Biology today and tomorrow without physiology (4th ed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks / Cole Publishing Co. (Cengage Learning).