Modified Genes

Genetically Modified Foods and Their Impact on the World

Positive Uses

Although I am highly skeptical about the safety of genetic-engineering, there are some potential uses that could make a positive impact around the globe.

One such project is the “super banana”. In Uganda, Vitamin A deficiency is common. To solve that problem, researchers are looking for ways of engineering bananas to contain higher amounts of Vitamin A. (1)

“The consequences of vitamin A deficiency are dire with 650,000-700,000 children worldwide dying…each year and at least another 300,000 going blind…Good science can make a massive difference here by enriching staple crops such as Ugandan bananas with pro-vitamin A and providing poor and subsistence-farming populations with nutritionally rewarding food.” – Professor James Dale

Another potential use of genetic engineering is drought-resistant crops. Biotech companies have been working to develop food crops which can withstand long droughts, opening up agriculture to areas of the globe which would normally be too dry to grow in.

According to the Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa Seed Scaling Project (DTMASS), African countries saw their yields increase by 20%-30% after beginning to farm these drought-resistant hybrids. (2)

However, debate rages regarding the ethics of giving corporations control over the very genetic structure of the seeds we all need to survive.

Sources:

(1): RT: “Genetically modified ‘super banana’ to be tested on Americans”

(2) The Guardian: “Are drought-resistant crops in Africa the tech fix they’re cracked up to be?”

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