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Genetically Modified Crop Plants

All the living organisms and plants, no matter how diverse they are externally, share a the  feature – they contain deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). This special structure is present in each cell and envelops the essential information about the biological processes, development, and functions of a host. The unique code information is stored in the subset of DNA called genes. Basically, the genes influence the way a creature or plant looks, the DNA determines much more, encompassing the functionality of the whole living organism. Until recently it has been believed that certain peculiarities it cannot be altered. However, the contemporary biological technologies allow interference into natural process of development through the modification, which has been transformed into what we know as the genetic engineering industry and achieved particular success and prosperity especially in an agricultural sphere. Genetically modified crop plants do not presuppose high expenditures, hence allow saving some finances, enlarge crop capacity and improve gustatory quality. However, this intentional violation of the natural cycle can presumably provoke some significant changes and possible negative response in the human organism. Moreover, the modifications appear to be one of the less investigated areas in the biotechnologies. Nevertheless, it definitely helps to increase resistance of the agricultural crops to diseases or pests. The paper aims to specifically discuss if the genetically modified crop plants are exclusively a part of a successful development in the agricultural field or they also involve risks alongside the aforementioned benefits.

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Genetic modification is a change inside the genome of the DNA of the plant. DNA is a structural molecule of a living organism, which contains the overall biological information about its growth, development, appearance, reproduction and functions. Thus, it can theoretically serve as a material or instruction for modeling a sample that the scientists can plan and produce whereby controlling crop plants industry with the help of modification through the gene expression control, though it is considered a natural process. “Gene expression is a conversion of information in a gene to RNA (ribonucleic acid) or a protein product”. Certainly, gene expression is a basis of the differentiation and it helps to protect and predict any changes in the environment inhabited by an organism. Anyway, agricultural sphere interferes into this natural system through genetic modification technology. It is applicable here since the harmful effect of pesticides on environment demands some alternative approach. It is even possible to call the process a design of the future plants generation. The scientists change the gene with a certain method and it can be further transferred to the next level and provide successful samples through the natural process of the gene expression.

Genomics has many diverse goals in the agricultural area, but the most important application is the resistant capacity of the gene product to different diseases, viruses, pests and insects the agricultural plant life is affected by. The science has additionally got an intention to produce plants with the highest quality superiority. The contemporary improvement of the crops design is targeted at the production of huge quantities of product on the small territory with the most limited amount of expenditures. In addition to it, the scientists seek to create nutrient-rich samples, which can have high reproductive possibilities and be resistant to frost, draught and other critical natural phenomena. Anyway, all these demand significant efforts, sufficient investigation and experimentations. However, the various testing practices have already led to the invention of several successful technologies through which the crop plants modification can be performed. Plant genes can be caused to experience various tests: electric shock, chemical influence, blasting with the DNA-coated pellets, or by using different bacteria. The researches design an intentional gene through these or all other possible modifications, remove it and insert into the crop plant under the investigation. The contemporary researches of can propose several methods of modification technics: subgenic, transgenic, and cisgenic. Transgenic plants contain the genes of different samples; subgenic method is also known as a gene knockdown and presupposes its deletion, silencing or repression; cisgenic method is applied with the help of similar plants or genes, found in the same species. However, despite the obvious scientific breakthrough this type of modification has demonstrated, the question of the genetically modified crop plants has become a heavily debatable issue now since it concerns particular social and ethical implications.

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The genetic modification of the agricultural plants touches upon the various aspects of human life. It raises a question about the safety of life, health and danger to the environment. Actually, although the process is still regarded as poorly investigated, it makes the citizens worry about its consequences. The technology also achieved “unnatural status” in the world through the deep and rough interference of scientists into the process. Thus, the main ethical and social implications involve the hypothetical violation of the principle of human welfare, the maintenance of people’s rights and the principle of justice. The issue of safety or welfare concerns the problem of possible future diseases or the modifications the human’s genome caused by the alterations of the plant one. It can presumptively lead to some disruption of prospective generation’s existence. The food security is one of the most threatening factors of the modification of the crop plants. Mainly, since an uncontrolled exploration of the modified fruits and vegetables eventually gets to the consumers’ dinner tables. Therefore, the violation of the consumers’ rights with the risk of damage their life is the major significant ethical implication. Different organizations protect the consumer’s rights, the human health and hence propose different steps for the regulation of the uncontrolled plant’s tests. To be on the safe side, the aforementioned ethical implications prescribe a range of risk assessment methods, including the monitoring of the post-released production, and the control of the environmental effect.

Moreover, the serious genetic investigations also cause active social reaction, where the majority of the citizens are against the genetic interference into the agricultural area for fear of an environmental imbalance among other reasons. Thus, they demand governmental justification and control on the federal level of jurisdiction to be sure their surroundings will not be negatively impacted by the intentional change of the agricultural fauna. Besides, the legislative norms enclose the possibility of people to have an alternative and to be informed about their nutrition. The occurring governmental changes thus offer people to decide whether to use the genetically modified production or not .

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The moral issue of the process further increases the tension in the world. The religious views of different confessions are quite contradictious to the idea of genetic modification. Although, the researches intend to improve the quality of the crop plants and increase their nutritional value, it makes a challenge mainly for Christians and Muslims. These religious groups reject such testing and the subsequent modidfications, as it can be a rough interference into the divine creation. Lastly, although the scholars themselves deny such chances, it is necessary to admit that the scientists do have the biggest responsibility for the world safety since the process of modification can provoke some future genetic mutations in both human organisms and plants. Consequently, the modification of crop plants, being a tremendous scientific achievement, also causes significant moral, ethical and social issues.

Admittedly, the genetic engineering has it risks and benefits. The food supply benefits of the process are obvious as it can significantly improve the sphere of agriculture and provide the country and probably the world with the resources they definitely lack. The national modification industry can lead the American agricultural plants exploration in the world at the highest level. It can improve the quality of the vegetables and fruits, make them more resistible to all destructive factors of the weather, diseases, and pests. The constant practice of the scientists proves that the national production can be well transported abroad without damages and decreased losses. Moreover, it can save the environment from the excessive use of pesticides . Actually, the benefits of modification concern the economic aspect of the agricultural sphere rather positively. However, the risk of it is also high. The sphere of genetics is not sufficiently researched and consequently, can possibly have some unpredictable changes ruinous to the environment and human organism and violate or alter their reproductive possibility. The citizens are afraid of these experiments because of the cancer disease threat caused by the fact that certain scientists supposedly apply some tumor cells in the testing process and it can be therefore connected with the high rates of the illness in the society.

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It is necessary to assume that genetic modification is a process of the sufficient scientific advancement with the intention to increase the volumes of produce and improve the quality of life. Although it has both negative and positive aspects, the future development of experiments can promise people better possibilities. It is necessary to admit that the process is really necessary and can so far be easily controlled since the majority of modified crops are bred in the laboratory conditions and cannot survive in nature. Thus, the idea of mutation is almost impossible. Moreover, the desire to improve human living standards through scientific experimentation will reduce the risk factors in the future because of the enhancement of such tests.

Finally, the contemporary genetic investigation progress allows the researches improve the quality of agricultural plants and provide the consumers with a better production of the highest value. However, it can possibly involve a variety of risk factors. The society feels certain tension concerning these issues because of the fear of diseases, health damages, future generations’ problems or environmental pollution. That is why, the aspect of modification industry is regarded on the federal level, heavily invested and closely observed by the general public. The ethical, moral and social implications involved make the question debatable.