Genetically Modified Organisms: Our Only Hope to Feed Seven Billion People

Genetically Modified Organisms: Our Only Hope to Feed Seven Billion People

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Modern Agriculture
Farming experienced little change from the end of the medieval age until the middle of the twenty-first century. (Baker, 2014) When the tractor became the common farm tool and replaced the horse, crop yields remained much the same. (Baker, 2014) From 1866 until 1938, corn yields in the United States were reported at 30 bushels an acre. This, when compared to medieval yields, is not much higher than a good growing year in medieval times. (Baker, 2014) Innovation was drastically stalled by the Second World War and the Korean conflict. However, by 1951, crop yield began to steadily increase as new technologies like fertilizer and hybrid corn breeds became more readily available in the United States.(Baker, 2014) After the introduction of these innovations, corn yields in the United States, from 1952-present, showed an increased yield of 2 bushels an acre per year. (Baker, 2014) This simple increase, not only of corn, but other grain sources has led to a huge increase in the population of the world.

The population has increased more rapidly in the last 200 years than any other time in history. This may seem like a relatively short time, but when compared to the history of agriculture this is a very short time period. Consider that it took over 1000 years for the world to reach a population of 1 billion and only 207 years to reach 7 billion. This is an exponential explosion in the population. Throughout history, agriculture, through several revolutions, has made it possible to sustain the world population. Through innovations such as the plow, crop rotation, and fertilizer, yields have grown and supported the population. But how will modern agriculture support a population of 7 billion people? There is n...

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Pray, Carl, Latha Nagrajan, Luping Li, Jikun D. Huag, Ruifa Hu, K.N Selvaraj, Ora Napasintuwong, and Chandra Babu. "Potential Impact of Biotechnology on Adaption of Agriculture to Climate Change: the Case of Drought Tolerant Rice Breeding in Asia." Sustainability 3(2011): 1723-1741. Web. 17 Feb. 2014.
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