Thursday, December 16, 2010

GM Crops

Should we Grow GM Crops?

  1. What is a GM Crop.

    A GM crop is a genetically modified crop that will either help it grow faster, grow bigger or more lush, or keep “predators” away (predators meaning things that may eat the crop).

    2. List 2 arguments FOR the growing of GM crops

    GM foods will promise many health benefits- Advocates hold that GM foods will leave traditional crops in the dust. They will have longer shelf life. They will be better for us, with some products already in the works benefiting our waistlines (low-calorie sugar beets and oils with lower saturated fat content, for example) and others bearing higher nutritional content (high-fiber corn and high-starch potatoes). And they will be safer to eat.
Advocates maintain that GM technology will help the environment-In the U.S. alone, farmers spray, spread, and otherwise administer more than 970 million tons of insect- and plant-killers every year. These pose threats to the environment. Pesticide residues linger on crops and in soil, find their way into the guts of wildlife that eat contaminated foliage, and leach into groundwater and wash into streams.

3. List 2 arguments AGAINST the growing of GM crops.

GM foods might pose health risks for certain people- Some people, including children, are highly allergic to peanuts and other foods. Some critics of GM foods feel the possibility exists that those genetically modifying food crops may unintentionally introduce a new allergen. Given that genes can be introduced from unrelated species -- for example, a fish gene can be put into a plant -- some critics argue that the possibilities of allergies might be greater than with traditionally bred crops.

Many feel GM crop technology will hurt small farmers- Critics of GM agriculture insist that patenting genetically altered crops, as agribusiness is rushing to do, will make small farmers indentured to big firms. Monsanto, one of the biggest players in the field, is currently suing dozens of North American farmers whom it claims have raised its patented GM crops without paying for the privilege.

*Read some of the reader’s responses.

Engineer a Crop

4. Practice this simulation until you get the largest ears of corn. How many times did it take you?

It took me one try to get the largest ears of corn, but it took for crop seasons to get there.

What’s for Dinner?

*Click on the foods on the table to see what research is being done to bioenginner the foods.

5. List two foods and desribe how they are being modified.

Potatoes- Potatoes engineered to absorb less oil when fried are currently pending approval by food regulatory boards. Bioengineers are also working to generate high-performance cooking oils such as peanut oil, sunflower oil, and soybean oil, which may allow for healthier fried foods with fewer saturated fats.

Coffee- Several biotechnology companies are testing coffee plants engineered to produce coffee with altered caffeine content. If these new coffee beans are approved for public consumption, coffee growers could potentially produce decaffeinated coffee beans, avoiding having to decaffeinate coffee beans after the harvest.


*Read the article titled “Are GM Food Sufficiently Regulated in the US?”

Do you think food should be labeled if it has been genetically modified? Why or Why not?

I believe food should be labeled if it has been genetically modified because if you know you are allergic to a certain type of genetically engineered food, whenever you go anywhere to eat or buy food anywhere in the entire world, you will have to be cautious. If foods were labeled it would make it a lot easier to live a normal life.

Finished? Go to and type "genetic engineering" in the search field. Browse some of the sites that pop up.

(Yahooligans is better than yahoo, the sites tend to be picked for education rather than for scientists and universities, you'll find more understandable and interesting sites on yahooligans than you will with Yahoo)

Write down any of the sites you visited below.

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