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GMO’s in the Developing World

By Tim Berkland


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Outline

  • GMO’s and what they are

  • World hunger/poverty – Problem?

  • GMO Positives

  • GMO Negatives

  • GMO’s role in helping with hunger

  • Conclusion


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What are GMO’s and where did they come from

  • GMO – Genetically Modified Organism

    • A living organism that has been genetically altered using molecular genetics techniques such as gene cloning or protein engineering.

  • History

    • 1973 1st recombinant DNA organism

    • 1986 1st field tests of genetically engineered plant (tobacco in Belgium)

    • 1992 Flavr Savr tomato approved by USDA

    • 1997 GMO soybeans become widely used

    • 2002 128 million acres planted to GMO crops

  • Currently

    • GMO’s have continued to play a large role in crop production

    • In 2005 52% of corn, 79% of cotton, and 87% of soybean acres were planted to GM seed.


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World Hunger Issues

  • Over 850 million people worldwide are undernourished

  • This number is expected to increase (especially in developing countries)

    • Increase in food prices

    • Biofuels production

  • Poverty leads to hunger which ultimately leads back to poverty

  • 75% of people living in poverty/hunger live in rural areas

  • Overall lack of food security in underdeveloped countries

    • Government

    • Can’t produce enough themselves

    • Increasing population

      Can GMO’s Help This Problem?


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GMO Benefits/Positives

  • Declining area of land for production

    • New technologies needed to increase crop yield

  • GMO’s proven to reduce harmful pesticide use

    • HT soybean – 10% reduction

    • BT cotton – 60% reduction

  • Average yield increase

    • Plant architecture

    • Enhancing fertilizer, pesticide, and water efficiencies

    • Molecular hybridization

  • Improved nutritional value (golden rice)

  • Higher levels of oil – boost feed efficiency

  • Cost savings – boost farm incomes for rural farmers

  • Pest control (Bt)


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GMO Concerns/Negatives

  • Risk of invasiveness to the environment

  • Risk of losing biodiversity

  • Possible allergens

  • Ethical issues

  • Over-dependence on seed companies

  • Loss of foreign markets (EU)

  • Inadequate research opportunities in developing countries

  • Government policies

  • Opinions of biotechnology


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GMO’s in the Developing World

  • GMO’s scale neutral

  • Contribute higher yields

  • Dependable

  • Less environmental pressure

  • Safety

  • Food Security

  • Better nutrition

  • Growth

  • Developing countries showing growth

    • 1996 – 2001 2.8 million hectares to about 19 million hectares


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Conclusion

  • Biotech has both positive and negative aspects

  • Could improve food security of developing countries

  • More research and education needed

  • Has come a long way and likely will continue to grow in the future

  • Has hurdles to jump yet


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References

"History of Genetic Engineering". American Radio Works. 2-26-09 <http://americanradioworks.publicradio.org/features/gmos_india/history.html>."Biotechnology".

USDA. 2-26-09 <http://www.usda.gov/documents/BIOTECHNOLOGY.pdf>.

Chaturvedi, Sachin, S.R. Rao. "Biotechnology and International Trade Regime: Options before Developing Countries". Asian Biotechnology and Development Review 9-31.

TOLLENS, Eric, Matty DEMONT and Rony SWENNEN. "AGROBIOTECHNOLOGY IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES:". Katholieke University Leuven December 2003:

Phipps, R.H., and J. R. Park. "Environmental Benefits of Genetically Modified Crops: Global and European Perspectives on Their Ability to Reduce Pesticide Use". Journal of Animal and Feed Sciences, 2002. Vol.11, pages 1-18


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