What are the agricultural benefits of GMOs?
What are the agricultural benefits of GMOs? Genetically modified insects are engineered by injecting desired genes into the natural insect eggs (Beard et al., 2004). The modified genes are referred to as transgenes, inserted using short DNA sequences. The resultant insects are transgenic with a complex assortment of transgenes (Beech, Koukidou, Morrison, & Alphey, 2012). Several transgenic insects are derived through genetic engineering with various transgenes, such as marker genes, refractory genes, and lethal genes. Marker genes create fluorescent insects that scientists use to differentiate modified and unmodified species. Refractory genes prevent the insect from transmitting diseases, while lethal genes render it unproductive or kill it. Transgenic insects have various benefits, including health, environmental, and agricultural. This paper focuses on the farming benefits, which include pest control, as opposed to the use of chemical pesticides, and enhancement of agricultural productivity (Gill, 2013).
What is the sterile insect technique for managing pests?
What are the agricultural benefits of GMOs?: What are the benefits of genetically modified animals?
Honeybees have also been engineered to enhance their resistance to pests and diseases (Pimentel, 2001). This has led to an increased population of bees, which previously succumbed to predation and diseases. Honey is an essential agricultural product with numerous health and economic benefits; thus, it is vital to safeguard the population of honeybees. Other transgenic insects include silkworms, mosquitoes, and kissing bugs modified for economic benefits and to improve public health (Richards, 2013). Silkworms have been engineered to synthesize industrial proteins and pharmaceuticals for various purposes (Walia, 2013). The proteins manufacture parachutes, bulletproof vests, and synthetic ligaments. Genetically engineered mosquitoes cannot transmit malaria, which benefits the public by reducing malaria cases. GM kissing bugs are also incapable of transmitting dengue, saving millions of people from succumbing to the disease yearly (Romeis, Shelton, & Kennedy, 2008).
Genetically modified insects have several uses, including weed and pest control agents without chemical pesticides.
Genetically modified insects have several uses, such as weed and pest control agents, without chemical pesticides. Pesticides adversely affect human health, crops, and the environment (Wentworth, 2010). They jeopardize many people’s health when they contact them, cause severe environmental damage, and kill beneficial insects such as bees. Besides pest management, transgenic insects also have other practical uses, such as disease prevention and increasing agricultural productivity. Therefore, transgenic insects are better than other pest control methods, such as vectors and pesticides (Winston & Edelbach, 2011).
Beard, C. B., Celeste, L., Bundy, T., Giddings, V., Jenkins, P., Matheson, J., Milewski, E., Miller, T., O’Brochta, D., & Rose, B. (2004). Bugs in the system?: Issues in the science and regulation of genetically modified insects. Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology. Retrieved on 15 March 2014 from http://www.pewtrusts.org/uploadedFiles/wwwpewtrustsorg/Reports/Food_and_Biotechnology/pifb_bugs_012204.pdf
Beech, C. J, Koukidou, M. Morrison, N. I. & Alphey, L. (2012). Genetically modified insects: Science, use, status, and regulation. International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology. Retrieved on 15 March 2014 from http://www.icgeb.org/~bsafesrv/pdffiles/Col6_Beech.pdf
Daily Mail. (2013). Frankenflies to battle pests: Scientists plan to launch thousands of GM insects into fields as an alternative to using chemicals. Retrieved on 15 March 2014 from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2410484/Scientists-launch-thousands-GM-insects-fields-alternative-chemicals.html
GeneWatch. (2012). Genetically-modified insects: under whose control? Retrieved on 15 March 2014 from http://www.genewatch.org/uploads/f03c6d66a9b354535738483c1c3d49e4/Regnbrief_fin2.pdf
Gilbert, L. I. & Gill, S. S. (2010). Insect control: Biological and synthetic agents. Waltham, MA: Academic Press.
Gill, V. (2013). Decision awaited on genetically modified insect trial. BBC News. Retrieved on 15 March 2014 from http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-24958488
Gucciardi, A. (2013). Thousands of genetically modified insects are set for release. Infowars. Retrieved on 15 March 2014 from http://www.infowars.com/thousands-of-genetically-modified-insects-set-for-released/
Knowles, B. & Scott, T.W. (2003). Discussion-Ecological challenges concerning the use of genetically modified mosquitoes for disease control: synthesis and future perspectives. In Takken, W. & Scott, T.W. (Eds.), Ecological Aspects for Application of Genetically Modified Mosquitoes (pp. 235-238). New York, NY: Springer.
Muir, P. (2014). Genetic pest controls. Oregon State University. Retrieved on 15 March 2014 from http://people.oregonstate.edu/~muirp/genecont.htm
Pimentel, D. (2001). Overview of the use of genetically modified organisms and pesticides in agriculture. Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies. 9(1), 51-63. Retrieved on 15 March 2014 from http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1227&context=ijgls
Richards, S. (2013). Will GM insects help stop disease? The Scientist. Retrieved on 15 March 2014 from http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/34005/title/Will-GM-Insects-Help-Stop-Disease-/
Romeis, J., Shelton, A. M., Kennedy, G. G. (2008). Integration of insect-resistant genetically modified crops within IPM programs. New York, NY: Springer
Walia, A. (2013). Thousands of genetically modified insects are set for release. Collective Evolution. Retrieved on 15 March 2014 from http://www.collective-evolution.com/2013/09/10/thousands-of-genetically-modified-insects-are-set-for-release/
Wentworth, J. (2010). Genetically modified insects. Post Note. Retrieved on 15 March 2014 from http://www.inasp.info/uploads/filer_public/2013/04/03/3_handout_1.pdf
Winston, M. & Edelbach, R. (2011). Society, ethics, and technology. Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.