Genetically Altered Plants

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					Genetically Modified
 presented by David Taussig
     December 8, 2005
 Why talk about GM crops?
• Use is common, particularly in the U.S.
  • 75 million acres planted in the U.S. in 2000
    (Colorado State University 2004)
  • 5 Million farmers grow GM crops (Perry 2003)

• Varying opinions regarding GM crops among
 the world‟s governments

• Stigma attached to GM crops among the
 general public
        What are GM crops?
• Plants which have been genetically altered to
 express a desirable trait (Perry 2003)
  •   Herbicide resistance
  •   Virus resistance
  •   Insecticides
  •   Environmental Tolerance
  •   Increased nutritional value
    How are GM crops made?
•   Most common method is by using
    Agrobacterium tumefaciens (CSU 2000)
    •   Soil bacteria containing a tumor inducing (Ti)

•   Isolate the gene containing the desirable trait
•   Insert this gene into the Ti plasmid of
•   Remove the tumor inducing genes of the
    plasmid, and infect the plant cells
•   Regenerate transformed cells into viable plants
Proposed benefits of GM crops
• Increased economic profits for the farmer
• Lower prices for the consumer
• Reduced dependence on chemical
  fertilizers and insecticides (Gray 2002)
• Potentially decreased environmental
  restriction (Chrisafis 2001)
• Potentially increased nutritional benefit
  (CSU 2000, Coghlan 2005)
Potential dangers of GM crops
• Health concerns

• Contamination of organic populations
 (Luhnow 2005)

• GM crops can be very difficult to contain or
 eradicate (Peterson et al 2000)

• Exploitation of third-world farmers by
 American biotech companies (Peterson et al
     A Biblical Perspective
• It is important to recognize the intrinsic value
 of the environment as God‟s handiwork (Vautin)

• We should choose what is best for all of
 humanity, rather than a few American

• Biotech companies should use extreme caution,
 performing enough research to become as
 certain as possible that the product does not
 harm those who consume it.

• Right approach to GM crops is one that is
 cautiously optimistic.
  • We will need to find a way to increase food output in
    the future
  • More food will not be sufficient without addressing
    the political and economic issues
  • Research should be allowed and encouraged to
    continue to address safety and health concerns
Chrisafis, Angelique. “GM tomato could open up vast new agricultural
   lands.” Guardian Unlimited. July 2001.
CNN Health. “Parents turn to organic food.” November 8, 2005.
CNN World. “Swiss tighten GM crop limits.” November 27, 2005.
Coghlan, Andy. “New „golden rice‟ carries far more vitamin.” March 2005.
Colorado State University “Transgenic Crops: an Introduction and
   Resource Guide.” August 2004.

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