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Genetically Engineered Crops

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Genetically Engineered Crops

Chemical and seed companies have been working the last several years to alter the genetic make-up of certain crops to combat heavy pressure from insects and weeds. Through genetic manipulation plant breeders have been able to make certain crops resistant to different types of chemicals and insects. Breeders can alter the crops by adding to a specific plant one or more genes from other related crops with a known resistance to an insect or herbicide The use of genetically engineered crops has become a hotly debated topic over the last couple of years. Environmentalists are concerned with how these new crops will affect the environment. Farmers want to know how these crops will help them to increase production and increase profits. Consumers are interested in the possible health risks stemming from these genetically altered crops. There are three main reasons why I support the use of genetically engineered crops. I think genetically altered crops can have fewer negative impacts on the environment, increase farmers' profits through increased yields, and pose no major health risks to consumers. The two types of crops I will focus most of my attention on are corn reistant to the European corn borer and "Roundup" herbicide resistant soybeans.

Monsanto, along with other companies, has developed corn varieties to resist European corn borer infestations. The gene inserted in these crops is called Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). Bt is a natural bacterium in the soil that produces a protein to disrupt the digestive systems of targeted pests (Monsanto Crossroads). This same gene is also used in varieties of cotton to protect against the tobacco budworm, cotton bollworm, and pink bollworm, and in potato varieties...

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"Making the World's Food Better." Monsanto Crossroads.

http://www.monsanto.com/MonPub/InTheNews/BioBrochure/Better.html (18 Nov.1997).

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http://www.monsanto.com/MonPub/InTheNews/Articles/97-04-21SoybeanResponse.html (18 Nov. 1997).

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http://www.novartis.com/textsite/media/releases/Sandoz96/aug06.html (18 Nov. 1997)
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