Thursday, February 28, 2008

We cannot avoid GM foods

In some developing countries, there are still a number of people dead of hunger because the traditional planting method can only feed so many people. The earth has become more and more crowded and the environment also has become more and more terrible because of the pollution. Otherwise, people are become easier to get sick. Is this the world we want? How long can it last? Nobody want to continue his life in such an environment. Is there any solution to mitigate the problems? Yes, there is. That is the genetically modified food. It can not only relax these problems, but also can bring us many benefits, such as raising the output of crop, protecting the environment and making more money. Therefore, the GM foods should be planted and developed.

Genetically-modified foods are “food plants that have been genetically altered by the addition of foreign genes to enhance a desired trait” (Whitman, 2000,para.1 ). “Since James Watson and Francis Crick cracked the genetic code at Cambridge in 1953, identifying the double helix structure of DNA, the human engineering of genes has been a possibility. But it took two decades for their discovery,…, to yield results in the lab and two more for GM products to appear in the shops” ( “The history of GM foods, “1999,para.2). “In the Nineties, biotechnology moved out of the laboratory into farms and shops, and became a boom industry. In 1990 the first GM food, a yeast, was approved in the UK; in 1992 the first food to be made from a GM ingredient – a vegetarian cheese – went on sale in the UK; and three years ago supermarkets started selling GM tomato purchase” (“The history of GM foods, “1999,para5). Till now there are various kinds of GM foods. Frankly speaking, even though there are so many kinds of GM foods, there is an argument of GM foods about whether the GM foods are necessary for human beings. “But there are signs that the biotechnology bubble may be about to burst. In the US, commercial planting has raced ahead. However, Europe is resisting, and in the UK commercial planting has been postponed, although the Government is going ahead with trials of GM crops”(“The history of GM food,”1999,para.7). Some people think that the GM food is a new product and a growing technique. However, other people disagree with that because the GM foods are against the ethics. (“What are Genetically Modified (GM) Foods?”2007,para.9). In fact, it is maybe that most people know little about GM foods.

The first benefit of GM foods is that it can solve the food crisis around the world. GM plants are much bigger than the common plants. For example, when people go to the supermarket, they always see some “special” hot pepper which is at least two times bigger than the other common vegetables. It is the GM food. Before GM foods coming out, maybe 1 person eats 4 hot peppers a week, but now the truth is that 4 persons eat 1 hot pepper a week. Also, the GM food grows faster. Because the gene is changed, the period when the GM foods are mature shrinks a lot. In traditional agriculture, the farmers should sow seeds in spring and wait to harvest until fall. So the farmers can have a harvest only one time each year. But the GM foods are quite different because they grow faster and less be affected by the weather. According to Whitman“(2000), “Genetic engineering—the same as genetic modification: the alteration and recombination of genetic material by technological means, result in transgenic organisms (“genetic modification,”2007,para.1) on the other hand, can create plants with the exact desired trait very rapidly and with great accuracy”(para.2). Therefore, the farmers can harvest twice or more. Then we will get more food because of the big size and fast growing speed. All in all, the GM food will provide so many foods that nobody will be hungry.

The following advantage of GM food is that it protects the environment. Often we use pesticide to kill insects or some kinds of viruses. As the pesticide used, it not only harms the people`s health, but also damages the environment. The GM crops are resistant to the virus, which results in less using the chemical that can remove the disease. "We have created an MSV-resistant maize variety by genetic engineering, using an approach known as pathogen-derived resistance”( “First All-African GM Crop Is Resistant To Maize Streak Virus,”2007,para4). This is an example to prove the resistance of GM food. According this report, it will be true that people could be no longer completely dependent on the pesticide to keep away the insects and viruses from the plant. The GM crop can do that itself, which will protect the nature by reducing the use of those poisonous chemical to the environment. Next, GM food yields more production, which could save a lot of land. Even though people are trying to develop the approach to make the yield of crop raise, it is still not enough. Without any solution, people decide to switch the forest into farmland, which will destroy the environment. On the other hand, now if the farmers plant the GM foods, people do not need to destroy the nature because the output of GM foods are quite enough to get rid of hunger of all the people. In a special way, GM foods make a great contribution to protecting the environment. As a result, GM foods are a good alternative method to solve some thorny problems, such as food crisis and polluted environment, which trouble humans a lot.

The last reason why the GM foods are so important to be supported is making more money. The GM foods save money because they can protect themselves. The reason why GM foods become so famous and impactful is that they can resist the insects, virus and weed. As what Whitman(2000) said, “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 market”(para.4). Because GM foods are against the insects and virus, the farmers do not need to spend thousands of dollars per year to buy the pesticide and Herbicide. Also, the GM foods are worth more money than the nature foods. According to Guterl, “On a U.S. farm, a good cow can fetch about $1,000 on the butcher`s block….However, an elite cow—one whose genes are optimized for producing the healthiest, longest-living and most productive offspring—can fetch more than 100,000”(“Would like your fries with your clone?,”2008,para.4).The GM cow is as times price as the price of the cow without any point using genetic engineering. If the farmers introduce 100 GM cows, it is ten million dollars that the farmers can get. Then how about 1,000 GM cows, 10,000 GM cows…?Also, the government will get extra income because they get more taxes. For example, the tax of consuming is 8% of the total price, if a person buys a GM cow, the government could get 8,000 dollars. Nevertheless, if the person buys a normal cow which is worth 1,000 dollars, the tax is 800 dollars that is too much less than the GM cow. Thus, the government will lose much money in the consuming field. So the GM foods have great economic profits not only to the farmers but also to the government.

Opponents of GM foods argue that GM foods are not safe because the changed genes may cause the GM foods to be poisonous. However, this is untrue on the grounds that genetic engineering is a highly accurate technology. GM foods could grow bigger than the normal crops because the gene which controls the plants` size is changed by the precision instruments which do their jobs by order. If the GM foods are not safe, the gene which is related must be altered. But the machine cannot do that without any order about it. So the GM foods are pretty safe for people to eat. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration finally published its conclusion which declared that GM foods are the same with foods from their conventionally bred counterpart( “What's the Beef?” 2008). This is the latest report referring to the GM foods` safety. Not only the FDA make the research of safety of the GM foods, but many other departments also have and they claimed the same result that the GM foods are safe. So there is no need to continue the groundless fear of the GM foods` safety.

In conclusion, the GM foods have so many advantages that it is unreasonable to refuse to popularize the GM foods. First, GM foods can feed up the growing population; by contrast, the nature plants have been falling behind the increasing population. Next, GM foods help the humans to protect the environment by reducing the usage of chemicals used to kill insects or prevent the diseases and viruses. At last, the farmers will make more money to introduce GM foods because they can not only save money but also fetch more money than the common crop. Therefore, the GM foods are an inevitable trend in the future and people cannot set such a great technology aside. Also, the government ought to give full play to its function by spreading the GM foods in the public. Then, in the future, there will be nobody hungry and the nature will be more green and wonderful. The food will be unlimited for people to eat and the life will be easy because the benefits of the GM keep the food yield at the same speed with the population growth.



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