GM Crops Biology

My notes on genetic modification of crops, specifically, maize. It has advantages and disadvantages of GM crops.

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  • Created by: fmPerkins
  • Created on: 29-04-10 14:55
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Maize (corn) is a cereal grain. They were first grown in the Americas. They only spread to the
rest of the world by the 17th century. However, genetically modified maize were first grown
in 1997 in the US and Canada. There are many different forms of maize. Some examples are:
flour corn, popcorn, dent corn, amylomaize, striped maize, etc.
Maize has been genetically modified so that it is more tolerant to herbicides (especially
glyphosphate), resistant (even poisonous, sometimes) to insect pests, and to increase
yields. The farmers have benefited greatly from the genetically modified corn.
(Potential) Advantages of genetic modification:
Farmers often spray large quantities of different weed-killers, but the method takes a
long time ­ as it could kill the plant, and is often expensive. Having genetically modified
crops means that the farmers can grow crops which are more resistant to just one
herbicide, which would reduce the cost, and time of killing the weeds.
Plants could be genetically modified so that they are resistant to diseases.
Some countries rely on some crops for their diets (e.g. rice in Asian countries). However,
most of the time, the crops don't contain enough vitamins and minerals. If the crops
could be modified, however, then the plants could then include the vitamins that the
population needs.
The genetically modified maize grown in Europe creates a substance so that the plant
can defend itself against a persistent pest: European corn borer. This pest chews through
the stalks, causing the maize plants to tip over.
The seeds of the maize crop could be modified so that they are less sensitive to the
changes in temperature, so that they can be planted ­ and therefore grown ­ anywhere
in the world.
(Potential) Disadvantages of genetic modification:
Some people have argued that if the plants have been genetically modified to extinguish
some pests, then they could grow to become resistant to the pesticides created by the
GMO, or any other pesticides. Therefore, the effectiveness of the pesticides will be
reduced.
There are those who are concerned about the unknown effects the GMO could have on
people.
The process of bringing the genetically modified crops into the market is expensive, so,
many agricultural genetic engineers have had their GMOs patented; because of this, the
GM plants are often more expensive.

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Many people in Europe have developed life-threatening allergies. Therefore, it is possible
that the modified plants could create new allergens which are life-threatening, and increase
the human health risks.
I think that maize should be grown widely, as there are many advantages which are
beneficial for right now, and could solve some of the world's overwhelming problems.…read more

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