In the past 20 years, genetically modified foods have become more popular due to their health benefits and higher growing rates. Genetically modified organisms have many advantages but can sometimes have negative effects on the environment.
Genetic engineering is used by scientists to enhance qualities in crops that are grown by farmers. Some of the qualities that scientists engineer these crops for are taste, nutrition level, and shelf-life. The technique that scientists use to increase nutrient levels is called nutritional enhancement. For example, one case of nutritional enhancement would be the engineering of a type of rice known as golden rice. Better Health Channel says, "GM golden rice is a white rice crop modified by the insertion of the vitamin A gene from a daffodil plant"(Genetically 8). In many countries, people's diets consist of mainly rice. While white rice is rich in other nutrients, it is a poor source of vitamin A. Therefore, these people need a more readily available source of vitamin A. In 2010, the World Health Organization reported that, “Currently, an estimated 250 million preschool children in the world have vitamin A deficiency” (Rotondi 1).
According to the USDA, "...biotech corn accounted for 90 percent of corn acreage in 2013"(Fernandez 5). Farmers grow these crops over traditional crops for many reasons. The most apparent reason for the growth of genetically modified crops is the higher yield rate of these plants. Farmers not only grow these plants in order to make a larger profit at the end of the growing season, but also because these farmers have the whole world depending on them for food. Furthermore, according to the ISAAA (International Service for the Aquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications), "...
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"ISAAA Brief 44-2012: Executive Summary ." ISAAA. 2012. Web. 4 Feb. 2014. .
"Our Commitment to Sustainable Agriculture." Monsanto. n.d. Web. 4 Feb. 2014. .
Fernandez, Jorge F. "Recent trends in GE adoption." USDA. N.p., 9 July 2013. Web. 4 Feb. 2014. .
Rotondi, Michael A, and Nooshin Khobzi. "Vitamin A supplementation and neonatal mortality in the developing world: a meta-regression of cluster-randomized trials." World Health Organization. N.p., 16 Apr. 2010. Web. 4 Feb. 2014. .