In the Real World
Agriculture and Biotechnology
Did you know that selective breeding of animals and crops has been around for over a thousand years? Yes, this is also biotechnology.
Scientists have introduced genes that make crops more weather and disease resistant. Some crops have been engineered to be resistant to herbicides so farmers can control weed growth without damaging crops. Others have been engineered for delayed ripening.
This all sounds beneficial, but there is some concern surrounding these transgenic or genetically modified (GM) organisms and crops. GM crops are especially widespread. They are easy to produce because a new plant can grow from a single cell. Remember the carrots?
Most GM foods found in the grocery stores in the US are corn and soybean crops. In the United States, GM foods don't need to be labeled. According to some groups, this is a cause for concern.
Some worry about the exchange of genes that usually can happen with transgenic crops. What if a herbicide resistance gene is transferred to a species of weed, making it a super weed? All joking aside, this would create a serious problem in the agriculture industry.
Others are concerned about the expression of the transgenes causing an allergic response in humans. While the use of biotechnology in agriculture can be very beneficial, it's not without raising some serious red flags.
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