Humans can be solved by genetic engineering

Humans
have domesticated plants and animals since long time, using selective breeding
or artificial selection in which organisms with desired characteristics are
used to breed them to improve the characteristics of animals and plants. This
concept is similar to the modern concept which is genetic modification in which
the scientists alter the structure of the DNA of certain species for different
purposes and those modifies organisms are called GMO. The GMO or genetically
modified organism is an organism whose genetic makeup has been altered in a
laboratory using genetic engineering. GMOs are used in biological and medical
research, protection of pharmaceutical drugs, experimental medicine, gene
therapy and agriculture. Genetic modification is usually done by transferring a
gene from one organism to another giving it new traits which can make plants
resistant to disease and parasites. Genes transfer to crops such as corn is a
good example of non-plant organism’s genes transfer. GMO
corn of various types has been bioengineered to include genes taken from other
plants in order to produce better quality corn that resist pests and parasites,
produce larger yields and withstand wider range of environmental conditions.

One
of the problems that can be solved by genetic engineering is making corn more
resistant to insect because insects are most likely to affect corn. Pollen from
Bacillus thuringiensis corn caused a high rate of deaths in monarch butterfly
caterpillars. These caterpillars do not consume corn but milkweed plants, but
there is a possibility that pollen from BT corn may be blown by wind onto the
neighboring milkweed field and hence the caterpillars will consume them and
die. Unfortunately, Bacillus thuringiensis toxins extensively kill many insect
larvae species, it’s impossible to produce a BT toxin that only kills pests
that are crop-damaging and remain safe to other insects this is done by taking
genes from a soil bacteria called Bacillus Thuringiensis, BT. It produces a
crystal (protein that disrupts the gut of insects that ingest corn). GMO corn
now have the insect killing ability.

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Another
problem that is found in corn but solved by genetic modification is disease
resistance. Corn can be infected by plant diseases including fungi and bacteria
but some plants can resist diseases that attack corn. Diseases caused by
bacteria include Holcus leaf spot, Stewart’s wilt, Goss’s wilt, and bacterial
stalk rot. Bacterial diseases generally enter the plant through wounds caused
by insects, wind, hail, or blowing soil. Therefore the genes are taken from
these plants and inserted into corn which makes it resistant to diseases.

GMO
has many advantages and disadvantages. On one hand, the disadvantages includes
environmental problems such as genetically modified crops that are often
sprayed with powerful pesticides and herbicides and fertilized with chemical
fertilizers that can contaminate the environments by travelling through the air
or into the ground where they end up in fresh water sources. The genes
themselves in these GMO crops may have an effect on human health hence unpredictable
side effects of genetic engineering. Allergy emergence is one of the most
common human health threat posed by genetically modified foods. The BT corn has
the potential to trigger an allergic response because the actual DNA of the
corn has been altered introducing new proteins into the food supply. Growing
corn with BT endotoxin means that we are consuming pesticides in every bite of
corn. On the other hand, the major advantage of BT corn is that it reduces the
need to use different types of insecticides. BT corn is toxic to insects but
not to humans. Most pesticides that are sprayed onto the crops kill all insects
including the harmless and beneficial ones, BT is specific for few types of
insects and only kills insects that that have ingested BT corn. Since there is
less usage of chemical pesticides of BT corn, cost of production lowers and
exposure the hazard chemicals by the farmer is reduced. So far the research is
attempting to demonstrate the positive effect of genetically modified corn on human
by experimenting it on rats where it had damaged its liver, heart and other
organs. Thus, scientists couldn’t find any damages on human because of
genetically modified.   

Genetically-modified crops may be the probable solution to
many of global hunger problems, and to aid in preserving and protecting the
environment by minimizing dependence upon chemical herbicides and pesticides,
and increasing crop yield. Although it kills a lot of beneficial insects other
than the insects that injest BT corn, it also effects human health some way. In
my opinion, BT corn is not that bad from the envitonmental side but when it
comes to human’s health, I prefer eating non-GM corn.