In 1996, Genetically Modified (GM) Crops were grown in 6 countries. In 2009, the number of countries using GM crops increased to 25. Some of the examples of GM modified crops are listed below.
- Genetically Modified Corn that are resistant to larval pests.
- Genetically modified Soybeans that are resistant to weed-killers like Roundup.
- Genetically modified Maize – used as animal feed, high-fructose corn syrup
- Genetically modified cotton – This has been approved in India along with 9 other nations.
- Genetically modified Canola – Used as cooking oil, emulsifier in packaged foods.
Aspirants would find this topic very helpful in the IAS Exam.
How Genetically Modified Crops are Made?
Genetic Modification is a technology that involves inserting DNA into the genome of an organism. To produce a GM plant, new DNA is transferred into cells of a plant. These cells are then grown in tissue culture where they transform into plants. The seeds produced by these plants will have new DNA. The most common way of inserting is using gene guns method. The other genetic engineering techniques are electroporation, mincroinjection and agrobacterium. There are 3 main types of genetic modifications which are listed below.
- Transgenic – plants have genes inserted into them that are derived from other species.
- Cisgenic – plants are made using genes of the same species or closely related.
- Subgenic – Alter genetic makeup of a plant without incorporating genes from other plants.
What is the Purpose of Genetically Modified Crops?
The multiple purposes behind genetically modified crops are listed below.
- Higher yields
- Enhanced nutritional value
- Longer shelf life
- Increase resistance to droughts
- Increase resistance to insects, pests.
- Increased resistance to herbicides.
What are the Disadvantages of Genetically Modified Crops?
As per reports there are various disadvantages of genetically modified crops
- Resistance to antibiotics
The above mentioned disadvantages are not conclusive and a lot more research is required to throw more light on the same.
The above details would help candidates prepare for UPSC 2020.
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