Genetically Modified Food - Pros & Cons Essay example

2981 Words Apr 24th, 2012 12 Pages
April 2012
Genetically Modified Food:
World Wide Panacea or “Frankenfood” to Fear?

Never before in history has mankind so masterfully commanded its food chain. Thousands of years ago, much of our species made the leap from a hunter-gatherer level of subsistence to an agricultural society. With agriculture, slowly but surely many modifications were made to plants and animals used and domesticated by us for the purpose of feeding ourselves. New specialized varieties with specific desirable traits slowly emerged; with the advent of knowledge of hybridization, this process was greatly expedited. By today, much has changed in the way we shape the foods we put into our bodies. With modern food science has come the dawn of genetic
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Introducing such crops to malnourished regions will potentially help alleviate the rising demand for food the world is currently facing.

In Uganda, where cassava, a potato-like tuber, is the primary food staple for the masses, a destructive plant virus struck the nation in the early 1990s. The pathogen devastated the cassava plant’s yield, damages many farmers livelihoods, led to near economic ruin, and, most importantly here, jeopardized health and nutrition of many thousands of native Ugandans. In some of the hardest hit areas of Sub-Saharan Africa, the cassava yields had been halved, all while the population of the continent continued to grow at a very fast pace. In terms of health, this disaster has led to, among other deleterious effects, widespread malnutrition and starvation. In 1999, “scientists genetically engineered the plant… to resist the [devastating] virus” (Hand). Since then, there has been appreciable improvement in the situation. The recent political situation in Uganda (and many other famine-stricken, war-torn African nations), however, has prevented such ambitious implementations of genetically modified crops from reaching their full potential in helping to solve the global food crisis.

In addition to alleviating this hunger crisis, the genetic modification of plants can foreseeably further advances in modern

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