Biology Essay

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Evaluate the potential for using genetically modified plants to improve food production (illustrated by plants with improved resistance to pests) Genetically modified plants are designed with desired characteristics to increase the crop yield. Plants may also have DNA, which makes them more resistant: for example genetically modified soya plants. Although GM plants appear to be only of benefit, there are people who claim side effects observed in lab animals such as: sterility; infant mortality; allergies; stunted growth. Another disadvantage would be that a broad-spectrum herbicide that can be spread on GM crops would kill many plants in the wild not just the weeds threatening the crops. There are many advantages to genetically modified plants. A resistance to pests means an increase in cropBt crops are grown widely in the USA, where an estimated 40% of GM maize is used in industrial-scale biofuels (agrofuels) subsidised by the US government. The rest of this maize is mostly used in animal feed, as is Bt maize grown in Brazil and Argentina. Some Bt maize is also grown in South Africa. Bt maize is also grown in small quantities in Europe, mainly in Spain, where it is used in animal feed. production. Each year, insects destroy about 25 percent of food crops worldwide. Bacillus thuringiensis, is a bacterium that has attracted much attention for its use in pest control. The soil bacterium produces a protein that is toxic to various herbivorous insects. The protein, known as Bt toxic, is produced in an inactive, crystalline form. When consumed by insects, the protein is converted to its active, toxic form (delta endotoxin), which in turn destroys the gut of the insect. Bt preparations are commonly used in organic agriculture to control insects, as Bt toxin occurs naturally and is completely safe for humans. Researchers have used genetic engineering to take the

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