This paper explains the aspect of genetically modified seeds and how it affects the prior co-existence of the environment. Genetically modified seeds limit diversity and continuity of existence. Through technology, researchers adjust the genetical make-up of seeds to produce a quality that is of much importance than the natural one. However, this modification limits the wild diversity that promotes the natural policy of coexistence.
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Gene engineering is also responsible for large scale farming to cope up with a significant input involved in purchasing these seeds. Large-scale farming, on the contrary, is responsible for downstream effects such as the use of pesticides and soil erosion. It is, therefore, important to properly examine the effects of genetically modified seeds if the ecology will remain in balance.
In the recent time, agriculture has changed through scientific experiments to making seeds that will produce a desired output. Scientists are finding new species of crops to catch the increase in demand for food by the increasing population. Different modifications to change the adaptability of seeds to adverse environmental conditions characterize scientific research today. However, these experiments occur at the expense of the original composition of nature and environmental co- existence. Genetically modified seeds limit environmental co-existence, the natural interdependence of plants and animals in the natural environment.
This document will discuss the contribution of genetically modified seeds to the ecological imbalances today.
The sustainability of nature depends on a co-existence principle of nutrients and metabolism where the waste of one component is a food to the other. The eco-system consists of interdependence for survival, for example; excess leaves and fruits dropped by a flowering plant decompose to feed various soil micro-organisms that enrich the soil. Carbon dioxide, a considered waste product by animals is essential for plant growth. However, this balance has changed with technology and research that mechanize and induce various processes in plants and animals to produce “the exact” desire.
Gene modification is responsible for a decline in cultural diversity. The garden was an experimental ground where information was free and available to other farmers, and from generation to generation. However with the introduction of gene engineering, monopoly has characterized farming today where experts and researchers live and instruct from other places. This system is responsible for high cost of agriculture where traditional farmers need a lot of inputs to earn from farming.
Farming is characterized by monopoly and agriculture has become a big business where land costs more than traditional farmers can afford. Traditional farmers have lost control of their farms to researchers and public policies for large scale farming. The environmental interdependence is deteriorating. The introduction of genetically modified seeds also poses a threat to the continuity of the environment, and this is called discontinuous effect. Over a long time, farmers grew a lot and kept more seeds for planting the following season.
However, the introductions of these modified seeds that end at harvest pose a threat to the continuity of individual species leading to a discontinuity in the environment. This situation will result in extinction because farming is for only particular crops regulated by humans and not nature. The introduction of genetically modified seeds limits the continuity of the life cycle of a particular seed and has made farming very expensive for traditional farmers who grow plants for food.
Gene modification is also responsible for increased dangerous chemical intake by humans. Through research and advancement in technology, Scientists are aiming to produce pest resistant breeds that can relieve farmers from other losses due to pest infection. It is a good idea because the cost of production will be in the check. Smith, (2003), through an experiment found out that potatoes engineered to produce its lectin pesticide that protects the plant from infestation by aphids, and other insects pose a threat to the health of human life.
This similar research on a genetically modified potato found out that the nutrient content of this same potato grown on an identical area had less protein by 20 percent than a non-genetically modified species. Further, the research found out that rats that fed on the genetically modified potato that had pesticides had their white blood cells with a slower response. White blood cells are responsible for the immunity of the body and, therefore, distortion of the system leaves the body more vulnerable to infectious disease.
The rats in this experiment had fewer developed brains, liver and testicles with serious health problems developing intense after 110 days after feeding on the genetically modified potatoes. It is a period that reflects ten years of human beings. This research by Smith (2003), therefore, confirms that genetically modified seeds pose a long-term effect on human health. This study also confirms that metric tons of genetically modified foods eaten by millions of people around the world may be causing the same health problems especially to the children.
In their article, “the true costs of foods“, the biggest threat of genetic modification is to the natural ecosystem. Genetically modified seeds are accompanied with large scale farming to cope with the high cost of input. Large-scale farming is responsible for high soil erosion of up to 14 times faster than nature can create. This condition cost the United States government up to $44 billion a year as a result of commercial farming and genetically modified seeds that alter the composition of the soil.
Another significant threat to the ecosystem is the use of pesticides. Pesticides that cost farmers up to $4 billion every year are a big threat to the health of the community and individual health as well. Philosophers also found out that over 20,000 cases of pesticide-induced cancer are present every year due to pollution of the environment by agricultural sprays in farms, (Institute for Alternative Agriculture (U.S.), 1991).
However, as the population increased, reliance on a fixed piece of land also increases. It requires high quality and fast maturing plant species, (Jumba, 2010). In response to the first growing population, scientists hope by the discovery of genetically modified seeds that yield more on a relatively smaller piece of land. Genetically modified seeds are also desired due to the resistance to pesticides and environmentally adverse conditions.
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The production of the potato that is a combination of a potato and pesticide was the beginning of the production of highly resistant species. This species ensure less cost of production and also save the environment from pollution due to continuous spray of pesticides.
Genetical modification involves putting together different DNA components that create genetical make-up often not desirable by nature; this has been responsible for negative changes in the ecosystem and adverse impact on the environment. To restore a sustainable food chain, we need to develop systems that attach value and breadth to the environmental economy interaction. It includes food chain systems that evaluate and reorganize the diversity and the interdependence of nature and the environment.
Institute for Alternative Agriculture. US, (1991). Cost of the US food system. In Understanding the true cost of food: Considerations for a sustainable food system: symposium proceedings, March 1991, Washington, DC Greenbelt, MD: Institute for Alternative Agriculture, 22(1), 172-182.
Jumba, M. (2010). Transgenic plants; In Genetically modified organisms: The mystery unraveled Bloomington, IN Trafford, 6(1), 101-106.
Smith, J. M. (2003). What could go wrong? In Seeds of Deception: Exposing Industry and government lie about the safety of the genetically engineered foods you’re eating. Fairfield, IA: Yes Books, 2(1), 47-60.