Gene Technology Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Gene Technology

Genetically Modified Crop Plants

The term genetically modified organisms, popularly referred to as GMOs, constitute crops, animals and even microorganisms that have undergone development my man and technology. Through the great leaps man has developed in technology, it is now possible to 'create' organisms and plants through the combination of genes considered superior, resistant and quick-maturing. Farming and animal rearing land brings a challenge in the current world, due to population explosions. This trend has been brought about by the necessity to feed the ever-increasing food demand by world populations.

The world today carries over six billion people, a number that increases every day. The natural means of plant reproduction cannot support to feed this population due to the long time taken to grow to maturity, poor yields and the limited space for planting. Therefore, genetic modification has gained an edge in the development of such crops as maize, soya beans, peanuts, wheat, barley and a variety of fruit trees. The advantages of these genetically modified plants ensure that most of the people do not go hungry.

The genesis of GMP (Genetically Modified Plants) involves the selection of healthy and high yielding plants and processing them in specialized plant laboratories to attain the desired quality of plants. The process involves the extraction of high performance genes from healthy crops, separating them from unhealthy ones and eventually binding them, together with other pre-extracted genes of the same plant, to produce desired results.

The genetic combinations require that proper sequencing of genes get done to ensure fertile plants arise. Due to human, technological and wrong coding, laboratory mistakes have led to unviable plants getting produced. For positive results, procedures dictate that proper and sequential gene combinations need observance during production. Proper genetic sequences require that the personnel doing the job need to have extensive and applicable genetic understanding.
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As such, the personnel need to have professions grounded in crop biology, normally referred to as botany. A succinct understanding of genes, genetic make-up of plants, plant DNA, chromosomes and the processes of cell reproduction, majorly meiosis and mitosis, provide enough basic understanding of genetic engineering. The production of genetically modified organisms, plants included, gets done through the genetic engineering and biological principles.

In genetic engineering, biological, scientific and genetic engineers modify crops to the specifications of a given area (Whitman, 2000). In areas prevalent to drought, the crops developed get modified to acquire extra drought resistant qualities to promote their survival, growth and high yields in drought prone areas. On the other hand, areas prone to plant disease attacks necessitate the development of crops resistant to diseases. The area-specific scenario in the development of crops points to a case where area specifications serve as an indicator as to what type of crop modifications need development.

Social and ethical implications

The introduction and continued consumption of genetically modified plant have led to the development of allergies in some susceptible individuals. Socially, this has led to communities and other social set-ups to oppose the genetically modified plant foods. For example, the genetically modified peanut in European and U.S. markets triggered allergenicity in children (Whitman, 2000). Further, the incorporation of new genes from the Brazil nuts in peanuts had to get stopped due to fears of development of allergies.

In the same way as the rapid growth of genetically modified plants occurs, most societies think that this trend may trigger cancerous growths in people. The introduction of foreign genes into plants tends to raise fears that the genes may incorporate themselves into the human system, thereby affecting the normal functionality of the body. According to a publication in Lancet, rats fed on genetically modified potatoes acquired a different gut system…

Sources Used in Documents:

References

Conway, G. 2000. Genetically modified crops: risks and promise. Conservation Ecology 4(1): 2. [online] URL: http://www.consecol.org/vol4/iss1/art2

McMichael, D. Costanza, R., H. Daly, C. Folke, P. Hawken, C.S. Holling, A.J. Pimentel, and D. Rapport. (2000). Managing our environmental portfolio. Bioscience 50: 149-155.

Deborah B. Whitman (2000) Genetically Modified Foods: Harmful or Helpful? (Released April 2000) http://www.csa.com/discoveryguides/gmfood/overview.php

Ellstrand, N. 2000. The elephant that is biotechnology: Comments on "Genetically modified crops: risks and promise" by Gordon Conway. Conservation Ecology 4(1):8. [online] URL: http://www.consecol.org/vol4/iss1/art8

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