Earlier I spoke about the potential benefits to the environment from genetic modification, however there are also risks. For example genes may “escape” and find their way into general populations of that species or into other species. For example the potential scenario of herbicide resistant genes finding their way into weeds. They can also potentially threaten biodiversity by competing or breeding with wild species. Some genes may be detrimental to the survival of the plant, potentially causing famines. There are also unknown risks to species that interact with these genetically modified plants. For example, birds and insects.
Next is the potential risks to human health. An example of this is allergy inducing genes could be added to unrelated foodstuff, and as GM crops are not labelled, a person could suffer from a deadly allergic reaction. GM crops could potentially inadvertently make their way into the general food supply. An example of this is the accidental sale of unapproved genetically modified corn seed.
The final argument against the use of genetic modification is the possible socio-economic effects associated with genetic modification. An example of this would be the negative impact this could have on small scale farmers. There is a fear that large corporations will dominate the market with superior yields of crops for example. Also heritage could potentially be lost as traditional farming methods become outdated. Also commercial interest and patent protection may hinder the entry of genetically modified foods into LEDC’s.
What do you guys think about these arguments? Do they outweigh the benefits?