now there are 800 million starving people around the world. Advocates
say it provides important tools to alleviate this terrible problem.
Experts say that can increase the amount of food raised on
the same amount of land. This will become more important as the
world's population continues to increase because land available
for food production will either hold steady or shrink. Genetically
engineered crops can be designed to grow under very specific conditions
(ex., poor soil or dry conditions) or to contain concentrated
to stop .
Critics of these arguments say that there is more than enough
food produced right now to feed everyone who is hungry. It is
not the lack of food, but the lack of distribution that causes
hunger. There are complex political and cultural factors that
prevent food from reaching those who need it most. Promoting GE
crops may not be the answer.
potential use of agricultural genetic engineering is prevention
of widespread disease. "Golden" rice is a good example. Golden
rice was genetically engineered to produce vitamin A. Vitamin
A deficiency leads to blindness, and is a condition that affects
thousands of children in areas of Africa and Asia. The genetically
engineered golden rice will provide vitamin A to keep children
from going blind. Medicinal crops could also provide a simple
way to ensure that vaccines are distributed on a large scale.
Imagine distributing bananas that are genetically engineered to
contain a vaccine for malaria instead of trying to give shots
to thousands of people.
say these examples are oversimplified, overused, or unrealistic.
For instance, there are other choices to golden rice that could
also provide the necessary vitamin A. Many green leafy crops
to Asian countries are good sources of vitamin A. But crops, like
rice, grown for export have replaced the green leafy foods people
once ate. Eating the leafy green foods from former diets and changing
the agricultural crops could solve the vitamin A problem. Critics
believe that the GE crops could negatively impact the natural
environments in which they are introduced. GE crops could make
countries dependent on the genetically engineered seed. In addition,
golden rice is not yet able to grow outside a lab. So while it
is a noble goal to try to solve problems like world hunger or
widespread disease, there are many political, cultural, environmental,
and economic factors that must be taken into consideration when
deciding if biotechnology is the answer to the world's problems.