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Genetically Modified Crops: the Next Green Revolution?



Modern Supercrops


Michael Oppenheimer, a climate scientist at Princeton and one of the authors of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, “In the last 20 years, particularly for rice, wheat, and corn, there has been a slowdown in the growth rate of crop yields.” A hazard for the world’s food supply.


Using selective breeding, Norman Borlaug (American biologis) created a small sort of wheat that puts most of its energy into edible grains instead of inedible stems. It resulted in more grain produce per acre.


In order to continue the growth, another green revolution is needed. Two contestants of great ideas:

  1. Borlaug’s breeding better crops

  2. Fraley’s genetically modified crops (GM crops) have saved billions of dollars in the US and helped the environment as well.


Although GM crops are blocked in Europe and Africa for the debates on its safety, it was stated that due to the plantation of GM crops the use of pesticide in the US dropped 90% and in China pests decreased and beneficial insects increased.


On the down-side, GM crops are a very costly entry to the already broken system. Modern farming has already undertaken too many synthetic fertilizers and pesticides which are made from fossil fuels that not only emit greenhouse gases but are also unaffordable to small farms. Therefore, we need a better and more mindful farming system. On the other hand, a pathologist named Peter Jennings crossbreed a dwarf strain from Taiwan and a taller variety from Indonesia and resulted in a fast-growing, high-yielding strain now known as India Rice 8 (IR8) for its role in preventing starvation in that country.


Climate Change, Population Growth, and Crops


Plantains, cassava, potatoes, sweet potatoes, yam, and tropical and roots and tuber crops are known as RT&B’, are the most valuable crops in the world’s poorest countries as it has a great potential to diminish malnutrition throughout 2050.


Climate change and water availability has a big role in these crops' agriculture, since bananas and potatoes are highly sensitive to water stress, cassava, yam, and sweet potato are drought resistant.


Climate change and water availability has a big role in these crops' agriculture, since bananas and potatoes are highly sensitive to water stress, cassava, yam, and sweet potato are drought resistant. Growing population ally with degradation of land provokes issues of crop production. The overpopulation resulted in shortage of land resources, atomization of farm plots, and ecological deterioration. A very major dispute for development is producing sufficient meals for a rapidly increasing population. But, due to the green revolution, it has helped nations grow more food produce per capita.


Pros and Cons


There are several advantages of GMO crops. However many groups have raised concerns that they may have negative effects on health.



The pros of GMO crops are that they may have higher nutrients, are grown with less pesticides, and are usually at a lower cost than their non-GMO counterparts.


The cons of GMO crops are that they may cause allergic reactions because of the DNA altercation and may also increase antibiotic resistance.


Global Food Supply


Modern crops have the potential to solve one of the world’s unresolved problems, global hunger. It has been already proved that the green revolution has taken its part in helping with poverty and starvation like Burlaug’s super wheat for Mexico and IR8 with India. The question now is whether genetically modified crops are the best option that we have.


In conclusion, post-green revolution advances made in biotechnology paved the way of cultivating the high-yielding, stress and disease resistant genetically modified (GM) varieties of wheat, rice, maize cotton and several other crops. The recent rapid commercialization of the genetically modified crops in Asia, Americas and Australia indicates the potentiality of this new technology. GM crops give higher yields and are rich in nutritional values containing vitamins and minerals and can thus can help to alleviate hunger and malnutrition of the growing population in the under developed and developing countries. It could also be possible to develop more biotic and abiotic stress resistant genotypes in these crops where it was difficult to develop due to the unavailability of genes of resistance in the crossing germplasms. However, further research and investigations are needed to popularize the cultivation of these crops in different parts of the world.


References
  1. Tim Folger. The Next Green Revolution [Internet]. National Geographic Magazine [cited 8 August 2021]. Available from: https://www.nationalgeographby ic.com/foodfeatures/green-revolution/

  2. Image from thetimes.co.uk

  3. CIAT Comunicaciones [Internet]. CIAT Website. 5 July 2019 [cited 8 August 2021]. Available from: https://blog.ciat.cgiar.org/climate-change-rising-population-pressure-essential-crops-in-low-income-regions/

  4. Wuletaw Mekuria. The link between agriculture production and population dynamics in Ethiopia: a review [Internet]. 2018 [cited 9 August 2021]. Available from: https://medcraveonline.com/APAR/the-link-between-agricultural-production-and-population-dynamics-in-ethiopia-a-review.html

  5. Madeline Kennedy. Evidence-based pros and cons of GMO foods [Internet]. INSIDER. 21 November 2020 [cited 8 August 2021]. Available from: https://www.insider.com/gmo-pros-and-cons

  6. Food security [Internet]. Global Food Security. [cited 8 9 August 2021]. Available from: https://www.foodsecurity.ac.uk/challenge/food-security-history/








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