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Genetically Engineered Corn

Pros of Bt Corn

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As of 2003 U.S grew 63% of the world’s transgenic crops, while Argentina grew 21%, and Canada grew 6%.  Other countries that grew transgenic crops include China and Brazil that both grew 4% and South Africa that grew 1%.  As the future seems that we will see an exponential growth in transgenic crops with researches gaining more information about the process and the traits involved.  As the new technologies are being produced there are many pros and cons surrounding the issue of transgenic crops.

 

There are as many pros to Bt corn as there are cons.  The following is about the pros of Bt corn.  Bt corn can protect itself against predators that feed off of the corn. 

  The Bt corn allows for less tillage, especially if the herbicide resistance gets added into corn.  The herbicide resistance enables the plants to be sprayed with herbicides and they will not be killed.  This will enable the farmers to spray herbicides and remove only the unwanted plants such as weeds.  This will also conserve fertility through minimizing soil damage through compression.

  No insecticidal sprays will be needed on the Bt corn, because the insecticide is already engineered into it.  Bt corn is also likely to give rise to lower levels of mycotoxins in the final food product.  Also less insect damage means less opportunity to develop fungi to infect the plant and bring toxic substances.

  Bt corn only targets the insects that attack the crop, because Bt is only effective if it is eaten.  So it will only affect the insects that eat the corn.  It has also been proven that the Bt gene is expressed more in leaves and stems then in Bt corn pollen, and therefore the risk to butterflies through pollen drift onto their plants is diminished.

  The Bt corn can also be produced more often and more quickly.  Not necessarily by the Bt toxin engineered into it but more genes can be engineered into it.

  Bt corn is also tested for genetic stability, substantial equivalence, nutritive properties, toxicity and allergenicity.  It is also known that conventional breeding can introduce increased levels of plant toxins into a new variety or can modify its digestibility or nutritiousness.  It has also been proven that some organic crops have higher levels of toxic substances.

  Since the Bt corn has  been enginereed with the ability to fend of pests, it can also be engineered to have more vitamins, minerals and anti- cancer substances. 

  The problem of resistance to the Bt toxin can be combated by planting non-Bt corn at suitable intervals.  The interbreeding of the wild population of corn with the Bt corn will force the resistant insect population to dilute out the genetic trait and thus prevent it from building up.

  • This will also help solve hunger world wide because the Bt corn can have a higher growing yield and effective utilization of scare land because of better pest resistance and nutrient utilization