Sunday, September 6, 2009

GM CROPS

GM Crops or Genetically modified crops have their DNA modified through genetic engineering.Transgenic plants where the plant genome is altered by Recombinant DNA Technology,also belong to this category.Soyabean,canola,cotton,corn are the common crops which are used for producing GM Crops.

Advantages:
  • Herbicide resistant: Due to insertion of herbicide tolerant genes., eg- Monsanto's Round Up Ready Soyabean
  • Insect resistant:By inserting Bacillus thurigiensis into the gene, eg- Bt Cotton against Ball Worm and Bt Maize against Maize Borer.
  • Pest resistant
  • Virus,bacteria,fungus resistant
  • High yielding
  • Reduction in the cost of pesticides
  • Addition of essential nutritional factors through genetic engineering into such crops, eg- "Golden Rice" contains high amount of Beta Carotene
  • Drought resistant/salinity resistant
Disadvantages:
  • Potential gene flow from cultivated to wild species
  • There is apprehension that these crops will harm not only insect pests but also other insects and thus will disturb ecostability, eg- recent threat to the existence of monarch butterfly
  • Emergence of new viruses/ diseases through antgenic shift, eg-Mad Cow Disease( caused by prion) is believed to have emerged from indiscriminate plantation of Monsanto's Round Up Ready Soyabean
  • Due to potential gene flow, enforcement of patent in such crops is often contentious
Conclusion: Limited scale use on the basis of agro climatic zone and socio economic conditions prevailing therein is recommended.

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