Aspect 1: Genetically Modified Crops
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How Are Crops Genetically Modified?

How Are Crops Genetically Modified? | Aspect 1: Genetically Modified Crops | Scoop.it
Q and A About Genetically Modified Crops: Genetically Modified Crops. Take Part in the Dialogue: Global agriculture finds itself engrossed in a heated debate over genetically modified (GM) crops. This debate, which features science, economics, politics, and even religion, is taking place almost everywhere. It is going on in research labs, corporate boardrooms, legislative chambers, newspaper editorial offices, religious institutions, schools, supermarkets, coffee shops, and even in private homes. What is all the fuss about and why do people feel so strongly about this issue? This Pocket “K” attempts to shed light on the controversy by addressing several basic questions about GM crops.
Emily Frye's insight:

Genetic modification is a process known as genetic engineering.  This means that the genes and DNA of one organism are being put into another organisms.  This process first starts off in the lab with an artificial creation of the desired trait.  In some cases the trait exists in another organism and scientists will simply extract the genes of that organism.  The trait then becomes DNA.  The scientists then physically add this new modified DNA to the organism through a structure that has looks like a shot one would receive at a doctor's office.  Another method is through the introduction of the new DNA by means of bacteria, who act as a vector.  Once the scientists obtain their new, modified DNA they inject this into a bacteria cell instead of the organism itself.  They will then put the bacteria into the crop and allow it to infect the organism with the new DNA in the bacteria.  

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GE Crops & the Developing World |

GE Crops & the Developing World | | Aspect 1: Genetically Modified Crops | Scoop.it
Nearly a billion people went hungry worldwide in 2010. Although there is enough food available to feed the Earth’s entire population, problems of infrastructure, distribution, politics and war all contribute to an ongoing world hunger crisis. As the global population continues to grow, moreover, it will take the very best solutions to feed everyone.
Emily Frye's insight:

With much debate over GM crops many, such as those with the Just Label It organization, are beginning to wonder why GM crops are needed.  Anti-GM crop supporters are finding many ways to tear down the idea of GM crops.  One of their arguments involves the new genetic modification of a drought-resistant crop.  Their argument states that though this crop is drought-resistant, it only raises production of the crop by no more than 1% which is no better than natural production of the crop.  Another one of their bigger arguments is the amount of food on this Earth.  According to their research, there is more than enough food for everyone of the planet it's just a matter of unequal distribution.  This means that while people are starving in one place, people can be over-thriving in another place.  If GM foods are supposed to solve world hunger they are questioning why there is still world hunger while people are overeating in the GM crop countries.

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The Effects of GM Plants on Insects, Spiders and Other Animals

The Effects of GM Plants on Insects, Spiders and Other Animals | Aspect 1: Genetically Modified Crops | Scoop.it
Genetically modified plants have been added to the list of strategies for combating insects pests. It is always important to watch out for unintended harmful effects on non-target organisms.
Emily Frye's insight:

Genetic modification is commonly used, no doubt.  Though for the most part we don't know of any severe human health risks that result from consuming GM crops, we do know how the GM crops impact the environment and its living creatures.  GM crops harm insects and other organisms but scientists are working on other methods that will save the organisms from harm.  For example, a certain type of soil has a toxin in that kills insects both harmful and beneficial almost immediately after consumption.  This toxin, believe it or not, is natural and scientists are using biotechnology to modify the soil to safe the insects.

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Genetically Modified Rapeseed

Genetically Modified Rapeseed | Aspect 1: Genetically Modified Crops | Scoop.it
Rapeseed has recently become a very important crop in Europe. Genetically Modified rapeseed now exists, but it is not being grown in the EU.
Emily Frye's insight:

Rapeseed is a fairly uncommon crop yet it is included in the Big Four.  This is because until the genetic modification of rapeseed, hardly anyone paid attention or used it.  Before GM rapeseed, rapeseed was easily killed by weeds.  The genetic modification of rapeseed was to make it herbicide resistant which then sparked a production increase.  This is when the mass-produced rapeseed was used as the foundation for biodiesel, industrial oils, cooking oils, lubricants, and margarines.  Herbicide resistance was not the only modification for the rapeseed.  In fact, after the success of mass producing them scientists decided to attempt to change the genetic composition of the rapeseed to become more useful.  For example, GM rapeseed in some parts of the world were modified to have a higher fat content to benefit and produce the oils better.  Also scientists are currently trying to develop GM rapeseed with a higher vitamin A content for nutritious benefits. 

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Genetically Modified Soybean

Genetically Modified Soybean | Aspect 1: Genetically Modified Crops | Scoop.it
Genetically modified soybeans. Cultivation worldwide
Emily Frye's insight:

Many crops in the world today are genetically modified, however there are four crops that are the most common.  These four crops are known as the Big Four: soybeans, maize, rapeseed, and cotton.  The soybean crop is one of the largest of the Big Four, which is due in part to the fact that 58.6% of the world’s soybean crops are genetically modified.  This large percentage all began with the planting of the first GM soybeans in 1996 right here in the United States.  Almost a decade after this first planting, the GM soybean had spread to over nine other countries.  The point of genetically modifying the soybean was for herbicide resistance.  This means that from the soybeans planted in 1996 and on were given protection from weeds.  Due to the larger percentage of soybeans surviving the weed infestations, there was a larger production of soybeans.

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What Is a Genetically Modified Food? - Instant Egghead #45 - YouTube

Genetically modified foods have been demonized in recent years by health advocates and environmentalists alike. If we look at the history of food cultivation...
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GE Labeling and Food Prices |

GE Labeling and Food Prices | | Aspect 1: Genetically Modified Crops | Scoop.it
Despite common industry concerns, there’s no evidence that requiring food manufacturers to label products that contain genetically engineered (GE) ingredients will increase food prices at the supermarket. According to
Emily Frye's insight:

America is one of the largest producers of genetically modified food, just as Europe.  The difference is that Europe requires any genetic modification of any ingredient to be labeled on the food packaging.  The United States does not require this.  The debate over the health hazards of genetic foods is making over 1.3 million people in America uncomfortable.  This is the petition results from Just Label It as they try to increase genetic modification awareness.  The labeling of genetically modified ingredients is predicted to not effect the prices of  foods for consumers in the supermarket.  In fact, Just Label It recently conducted a study to see how much nutrition labels affected the foods prices and the surprising result was that changes in labels did not affect the price or the consumption. 

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Cross-Contamination

Cross-Contamination | Aspect 1: Genetically Modified Crops | Scoop.it
Industry developed genetically engineered (GE) crops and introduced them to the market with the promise of higher crop yields, but the only things that have increased are the use of toxic herbicides and pesticides, the number of resistant weeds and bugs, contaminated crops and chemical industry prof...
Emily Frye's insight:

Just Label It is an upcoming organization promoting that the United States require the labeling of any genetically modified crop on the food that we buy in the store.  Their argument is that as Americans we have a right to know what's in our food.  Many studies have been conducted to find out more information about GM crops through this organization.  One strong impacting factor is cross-contamination.  Plants just like animals reproduce, however the reproduction process of plants is quite different than other organisms.  Each crop is neither male nor female alone, but rather both.  This means each plant has sperm and egg.  The sperm is known as pollen which is carried around by wind or insects, such as bees.  The dangerous aspect to this when looking at GM crops is that even the modified crops have pollen to fertilize.  Sometimes that pollen is blown or taken away by a vector to far places and other groups of plants that aren't genetically modified.  When that non-GM crop is fertilized by a GM crop this causes cross-contamination and the offspring will carry the GM trait and essentially become a GM crop. There are standards and regulations on where a GM farmer may grow at a substantial distance from a natural farmer.  Still, however, the pollen can be carried extremely far distances.  

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Genetically Modified Cotton

Genetically Modified Cotton | Aspect 1: Genetically Modified Crops | Scoop.it
Genetically modified cotton is set to make for drastic reductions in pesticide use in China. GM Bt cotton protects against the cotton bollworm.
Emily Frye's insight:

Cotton is another mass produced crop that is genetically modified.  Not only do we use cotton for our clothes and other fabrics but it is in fact a base for some animal food.  The GM use of cotton is perhaps one of the most common throughout the world because, for the most part, there are no health risks to modifying the cotton itself.  Cotton was genetically modified to enable more healthy production of it.  GM cotton today is resistant to both pests and weeds.  This means that the GM cotton crop boomed after the introduction of it.

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Genetically Modified Maize in the EU

Genetically Modified Maize in the EU | Aspect 1: Genetically Modified Crops | Scoop.it
Genetically modified maize is the only GM crop being commerically grown in the EU. Bt maize is protected against the European corn borer. Maize is often used in animal feed and in starch production.
Emily Frye's insight:

Maize is a crop that serves for many uses all throughout the world.  We use it to feed livestock and is the base product of food for ourselves.  Like the soybean crop, maize is genetically modified as well because of it's worldwide popularity.  In fact, the European continent has only one commercial crop that is genetically modified: maize.  Around the same time as the GM soybean, GM maize was introduced in the late 1990s in North America.  After this time period, the maize production increased in number significantly throughout the world.  This large increase can be seen through the United States' coming in at 80% of maize in the country being genetically modified.  The genetic modification of maize was introduced to fight off the European crop borer who's larva devoured the maize crop.  Over in Europe there are some rules and regulations that apply to their only GM crop.  First off the GM crop must be kept away from the conventional crop to avoid cross-breeding.  In addition, if the GM maize is used in food products sold in stores it must be labeled.

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The Scientific Debate About GM Foods Is Over: They're Safe

The Scientific Debate About GM Foods Is Over: They're Safe | Aspect 1: Genetically Modified Crops | Scoop.it
Now it's time to have a better public debate.
Emily Frye's insight:

With all the anti-GM food organizations formed, many people assume GM foods are bad for the human body.  In fact, 48% of  to a survey issued by the July Gallop poll believed that GM foods “‘pose a serious health hazard.’”  This false information and protests are now coming to a close thanks to the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  Recently they have conducted a study and reached their long-awaited conclusion: GM foods have no health risks and eating them is “‘no riskier than consuming the same foods containing ingredients from crop plants modified by conventional plant improvement techniques.’”  Not only has this scientific group come to this conclusion, but also many others around the world are finding no health risks to the overall human health.  Now that the truth is out, the close-mindedness of the public is the next step to tackle.  In addition to convincing the public of the safety, a new problem presents itself, are GM foods morally right? This question is one of the current topics of debate amongst many scientists and continues to be to this day.

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Genetic engineering: The world's greatest scam? - YouTube

(French version -- http://www.greenpeace.org/ogm) Genetic engineering is a threat to food security, especially in a changing climate. The introduction of gen...
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