GMO development first began in 1973 and is still a hot issue. GMOs are especially relevant to our daily lives as it relates to our food. In fact, most of the foods we eat are made from GMOs at some point in their manufacturing process. Then, what is a GMO? GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism, which refers to produce with biotechnology. Biotechnology means artificially combining genes which are not in the original crop. In other words, a GMO is new species created to improve productivity and quality. For example, only the genes that are resistant to insects are copied from one crop and inserted into another crops. A GMO is then created that does not die of insects as easily as the non-GMO species. This GM technology began to be developed 46 years ago. After that, it became widespread in 1995 when Monsanto Corporation commercialized it in earnest. However, there are concerns over potential risks of using GMOs. The opponents say that GMO would cause confusion in the environment and the human body because it is artificial produce. In response, CAH looked both sides of GMO development.
“I'll kill half the population.” This is the plan of Thanos, who appears as a villain in Marvel’s Avengers series. In the movies, Thanos tries to kill half of the population of the universe to control the population growth. The increase in the number of people that often appears in movies is one of most serious problems around the world. In 1880, the population has now reached 7 billion in 2011, and continues to grow. There is obviously a food problem that comes naturally with this rapid increase in population. It is difficult to cope with the rising population of this planet with the Earth’s current resources. The alternative is GMO. While some disagree with genetically modified crops, in three respects, GMO development is a reasonable choice.
First, GMO is environmentally helpful. The typical GMO is an organism that has immunity to pests and is strong against weeds. The advent of GMOs has fundamentally reduced the use of pesticides in growing crops. A decrease in pesticide use literally means that consumers can be free from pesticides. For example, two years ago, insecticide eggs were a bit issue in Korea. In 2017, pesticide ingredients were detected at farms in Namyangju and Gwangju. The government stopped transports of eggs from all farms in Korea and conducted a full-scale inspection of more than 3,000 egg farms. Amid such growing concerns over pesticides, pest-resistant crops can control harmful insects with just 30 percent of the pesticides which are used to grow existing crops. It can also reduce greenhouse gas emissions as the use of pesticides or herbicides decreases. According to a report released by agricultural economists Graham Brooks and Peter Barfoot, the amount of greenhouse gases generated by growing existing crops is equal to the amount of the gases emitted by 10.2 million cars a year. Graham claimed the use of herbicides decreased by 193 million kilograms, due to growing GM corn from 1996 to 2011. This further implies that global warming can also be prevented.
Second, GMOs are economically efficient. GM seeds allow producers to grow pest and disease-resistant plants, making it easier to grow large quantities of crops than before. This allows consumers to purchase food products at lower prices. The increase in efficiency does not simply benefit producers and consumers, but can further help in the public interest. GMOs are solution to the global hunger problem. Many scientists predicted that the Earth's population will exceed 9 billion by 2050. However, the current resources are not enough to feed that population. To solve this food problem, GMO development is essential. Richard John Roberts of the U.K., who won the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physiology·Medicine, said that GMO development could help these social problems. He cited bananas from Uganda, as an example. For Africans, bananas are food, not fruit. Uganda, in particular, is one of the most banana-dependent countries. In 1990s, many banana trees were killed by pests in Uganda so that many suffered from starvation. However, according to a report released by Cornell University, Uganda has produced more than twice as many bananas as it did two years after planting pest-resistant GMO banana seedlings. Dwarf wheat, developed by American botanist Norman Borlaug, is another example of solving the problem of hunger. This wheat is made by inter-breeding different varieties of wheat. Thanks to it, the rate of hunger was reduced from about 60 percent in the 1960s to 17 percent. Norman Vologue, who was credited with this genetic modification technique, also won the Nobel Peace Prize in the 1970s.
Third, the safety of GMO has been proven. The biggest reason for opposing the GMOs are uncertainty about their harmfulness. In fact, among scientists, GMOs have been widely accepted as safe. Richard Roberts, a Nobel laureate in physiology and medicine and a special professor at North Easton University in the U.S., urged people not to believe in fictitious fantasies created by GMO opponents. Roberts said GMO research assessments have been made for about 30 years, but there was no evidence that they were harmful. GMOs are simply a crop grown in a scientifically precise way, which is an upgraded version of the traditional way to produce better quality crops. In fact, after analyzing research data on GMOs, which National Academy of Science(NAS) has studied for more than 20 years, they said that the composition of GMO is not harmful to health and has nothing to do with all diseases. Plus, most of the experiments that proved GMO's dangers did not have sufficient scientific evidence. These are why some 120 Nobel laureates issued a statement calling for an end to the campaign against GMOs. In other words, the safety of GMOs is scientifically proven.
It is necessary to review whether the reasons represented by each side are reasonable to establish his or her own opinion on the development of GMO. Though it is debatable topic, GMOs can be an environmentally, economically, and scientifically reasonable choice. It can reduce the use of pesticides to ease global warming, and economically boost production. Based on long-standing research, the safety of GMOs has also been verified. Therefore, one needs to ponder why GMOs are needed, rather than insisting on halting GMO development, simply saying it is dangerous.
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