Why do we need GMOs?
The developers of GM foods believe that genetically modified organisms will have lower prices, higher nutritional value, better taste, and higher product quality. More importantly, they believe that the plants will be more resistant to droughts, pests, and weeds. Earlier, the main aim was to increase crop protection, but its perceived success has empowered the developers to explore new areas of modifying organisms to yield even more radical results.
Some organisms are constantly being attacked by pests and some insects, and traditional methods of fighting them are just too costly and painful. So like a vaccine shot, researchers believe the DNA from a virus can be fixed into the DNA of the crop, and make it more resistant to that virus.
Before we look at the argument for and against this technology, here are a few reasons why GM foods are produced: to be insect-resistant, virus-resistant, and/or herbicide-tolerant.
To this end, scientists have:
Introduced genes for toxin production into crops, making the crops require fewer insecticides on the lands on which they are planted
Introduced genes from some viruses into the crops, thereby making them less susceptible to diseases and therefore increasing their produce
Introduced some genes from some bacterium that makes the crops resistant to some herbicides.
The net result for all of this is increased crop yield and higher production.
“We’ll soon be able to produce more crops with less pesticide, less fuel, less fertilizer, fewer trips over the field. We’ll produce much more with much less… A couple of years ago I wouldn’t have predicted this. But I now think that within a decade it will be possible to have crops that can withstand the stresses of early spring and late fall to such an extent that farmers could plant two crops of corn, soybeans, or wheat each year.”
-Dr. Ray Bressan, professor of horticulture and director of the Center for Plant Environmental Stress Physiology, Purdue University. Source: PBS.ORG