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Pests and Pollinators & Genetically Modified Food
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  1. Pests and Pollinators &Genetically Modified Food • AP Environmental Science

  2. Objectives: • Define the term seed banks. • Discuss the importance of pollination. • Describe the science behind genetically modified food. • Evaluate the debate over genetically modified food. • TED - The varieties of wheat, corn and rice we grow today may not thrive in a future threatened by climate change. Cary Fowler takes us inside a vast global seed bank, buried within a frozen mountain in Norway, that stores a diverse group of food-crop for whatever tomorrow may bring.

  3. Define the term seed banks. • Seed Bank: Place where seeds are stored for short-term use in farming or for long-term preservation. • Wakehurst: KEW Millennium Seed Bank

  4. Discuss the importance of pollination. • Insects and other organisms are essential for the reproduction of many crop plants. • Conservation of pollinating insects is vitally important to our food security.

  5. We depend on insects to pollinate crops Not all insects are pests; some are absolutely vital 800 crop species rely on insect pollinators Pollination = male plant sex cells fertilize female sex cells By wind or animals Pollinators include: Hummingbirds Bats Insects (bees, wasps, etc.) Flowers are evolutionary adaptations to attract pollinators

  6. Conservation of pollinators is vital Populations of pollinators (e.g., bees) have plummeted Colony collapse disorder = entire beehives have vanished Unknown causes—Insecticides? Parasites? Stress? Reducing or eliminating pesticide use and planting flowering plants will help preserve bees Bees pollinate over 100 crops and contribute $15 billion in services/year

  7. Describe the science behind genetically modified food. • Genetic modification uses recombinant DNA technology to move genes for desirable traits from one type of organism to another. • Genetic engineering is both like and unlike traditional selective breeding. • GM crops may have ecological impacts, including the spread of transgenes, an increase in chemical pollution, and indirect impacts on biodiversity.

  8. Genetically modified organisms • Genetic engineering =laboratory manipulation of genetic material • Add, delete, modify DNA • Genetically modified (GM) organisms = organisms that have been genetically engineered by … • Recombinant DNA = DNA created from multiple organisms

  9. Biotechnology is impacting our lives Biotechnology = the application of biological science to create products derived from organisms Transgenic organism = an organism that contains DNA from another species Transgenes =the genes that have moved between organisms Biotechnology has created medicines, cleaned up pollution, and dissolved blood clots

  10. Some genetically modified foods

  11. Genetic engineering versus agricultural breeding • Traditional breeding = changes organisms through selective breeding of the same or similar species • Works with organisms in the field • Genes come together on their own • Uses the process of selection • Genetic engineering = mixes genes of different species • Works with genetic material in the lab • Directly creates novel combinations of genes • Resembles the process of mutation

  12. GM foods are a big business Most GM crops are herbicide and pesticide resistant Large-scale farmers grow crops more efficiently Most U.S. corn, soybeans, cotton, and canola are genetically modified Biotechnology is changing our world Globally, 14 million farmers grew GM foods on 134 million ha

  13. What are the impacts of GM crops? • As GM crops expanded, scientists, citizens, and policymakers became concerned • Impacts on human health • Concerns over escaping transgenes • They could harm nontarget organisms • Pests could evolve resistance • They could ruin the integrity of native ancestral races and interbreed with closely related wild plants

  14. Genetic engineering has benefits and risks • Environmental benefits of genetic engineering: • Reduced use of chemical insecticides • Increased no-till farming • Decreased irrigation, deforestation, land conversion • Negatives of genetic engineering: • Increased herbicide use affects health and habitats • Some GM fields support less biodiversity • Precautionary principle = don’t undertake a new action until the effects of that action are understood

  15. Evaluate the debate over genetically modified food. • Many people have ethical qualms about altering food through genetic engineering. • Opponents of GM foods view multinational biotechnology corporations as a threat to the independence of small farmers. • Nations have adopted differing stances on GM foods.

  16. The GM debate involves ethics • People don’t like “tinkering” with the food supply • With increasing use, people are forced to use GM products, or go to special effort to avoid them • Multinational corporations threaten the small farmer • Research is funded by corporations that profit if GM foods are approved for use • GM crops have not eradicated hunger • GM crops do not focus on increased nutrition, drought tolerance, etc. The GM industry is driven by market considerations driven by financial interests of corporations

  17. GMO producers are suing farmers Corporations go to great lengths to protect their GM investments • Monsanto has launched 112 lawsuits against 372 farmers, winning an average $385,000 per case • Monsanto sued Percy Schmeiser of Canada for using its GM seeds without paying for them • Schmeiser said the seeds blew onto his field from adjacent fields • The courts sided with Monsanto, saying that Schmeiser had violated Monsanto’s patent

  18. The future of GM foods • Europeans demand that GM foods are labeled • U.S. consumers have mostly accepted GM crops • They don’t realize most food contains GM products • The U.S. sued the European Union before the World Trade Organization for hindering free trade • The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety lays out guidelines for open information about exported crops • The U.S. has not joined • Brazil, India, and China approve GM crops

  19. TED Video Biodiversity warrior Cary Fowler wants to save the world from agricultural collapse, one seed at a time. Cary Fowler: One seed at a time, protecting the future of food (17:06) "For individual crop varieties, doomsday does come every day. We want to put an end to that."