Genetic Engineering

By Taylor Broerman, Sustainable Plant Systems major

Genetic engineering has gotten a bad rap over the years for being something unnatural or wrong. However, genetic engineering is not entirely a bad thing. There are a few reasons for this including herbicide resistance in crops, insecticide resistance in crops, and some positive effects on the environment.

Having herbicide resistant crop allows us to spray certain chemicals on those plants to protect them and keep weeds down. This allows for a successful production year for the crop and consistent food security. Insect resistance is another important aspect for a good production year and food security. Bt crops are the most common type of genetically engineered insect resistance. Bt is a bacteria that is harmful to certain insects that ingest plant material modified with the Bt strain. Genetically  modified crops can also can have a beneficial impact on the environment by reducing the amount of tillage farmers need to do, which in turn, decreases runoff of fertilizers and chemicals into lakes and streams.

Each of these positive reasons for genetic engineering have some push-back, mostly from media, however genetic engineering is going to be a big part of the future of agriculture, whether or not it is completely accepted by everyone.

This blog post was an assignment for Societal Issues: Pesticides, Alternatives and the Environment (PLNTPTH 4597). The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the class, Department of Plant Pathology or the instructor.

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