Advantages and Disadvantages of Genetically Modified Crops

Genetically modified crops are plants whose DNAs are modified by the genetic engineering methods to develop favorable characteristics. There are large number of debates about the utility, efficacy, advantages and disadvantages of the genetically modified crops. Each side is putting across their views in a deterministic manner. Hence genetically modified crops are referred as double edged swords.

Advantages of Genetically modified crops

Reduced input burden

Since genetically modified crops require minimal pesticides, fertilizers or insecticides the cost of input is greatly reduced. Reduced use of the chemicals is also beneficial from the environmental perspective.

Disease resistant and Sustainability

Through genetic modifications the genetically modified crops are made resistant to diseases. This enhances their sustainability and yield.

Longer Shelf life

Genetically modified foods have a longer shelf life. This enhances the ease of transportation and storage.

Affordability

Due to reduced burden of inputs and longer shelf life hence reduced wastages, the prices of the output will be low. This increases the affordability.

Fortification

Genetically modified crops can be used for food fortification at the source itself. This will aid in addressing the various aspects of nutritional security.

Disadvantages of GM crops

Cross Contamination

The pollen from the genetically modified plants are contaminated. This could result in superweeds which have the same resistance properties as the crops.

Antibiotic resistance

Genetically modified crops have inbuilt antibiotic properties due to their inbuilt mechanisms for disease control. This can result in superbugs which can disrupt the health care sector.

Carcinogen exposure risk

There are researches which show that crops tolerant to commercial pesticides greatly increase the risk of cancer development in rats. Genetically modified crops can also pose serious threats to human health.

Conclusion

Genetically modified crops provide with an advantage of providing the world with better food access, but more food should not come at the expense of personal health. There is a need of greater transparency with related to research, approvals and regulatory regimes so that the fears due to the potential harms can be addressed.

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