botany of desire

1397 Words6 Pages
In Michael Pollan's chapter of Botany of Desire, he talks about genetic modification; injecting genome into the DNA of other crops with the sole purpose to change their characteristics. Pollan genetically modifies a potato and is named the “NewLeaf”. Pollan’s research question is about creating a New Leaf Potato by injecting a bacterium called Baclilus Thuringiensis (bt) in the potatoes DNA. By doing this, it allows the potato to defend itself from their biggest threat, which is the Colorado beetle. Throughout this chapter, Pollan shows the reader that he has an opinion on genetically modified crops and how it can not only affect us today, but also in the future. He gives us some historic background regarding the New Leaf potato with the intention to get across his concern of monoculturalism. Pollan realizes that his potato is considered a pesticide when he comments: “the small print on the label also brought the disconcerting news that my potato plants were themselves registered as a pesticide with the environmental Protection Administration” (190). Throughout the chapter, he also brings in farmers from different areas and methods of plantation to give an opinion on the genetic modification and the future of these crops.
In the beginning of this chapter, Pollan knows that genetic modification has negative side effects and thus he introduces a variety of sources such as the history and gathering opinions from other farmers to prove his point. By doing so, he tries persuade the reader into thinking that genetic modification is incorrect. Not only does he believe that genetic engineering is wrong, but also those in related fields think so as well. By bringing in history, biology, reliability, and the idea of a m...

... middle of paper ... basis, but the consequences are not fully understood. As a society, we are becoming extremely dependent on the potato without having the answers to some important health questions.
Pollan’s point of view regarding the New Leaf potato is clear; he fears that the New Leaf will become popular among farmers and this will be the only crop they will harvest. This increases our chance of becoming a monoculture and seeing the results in history and talking to current farmers regarding this issue, raises Pollan’s concern. With uncontrollable biological movement such as genetic instability, the probability that the NewLeaf potato will be the only type planted in a couple of years is steadily increasing. Throughout this chapter, Pollan gives us reasons to believe that genetic engineering is wrong and uses examples in history and opinions to reinforce his point of view.
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