According to a UN estimate, the world population will increase to 8.5 billion people by 2030. Consequently, the world must start planning now to ensure that sufficient food is produced to sustain the expanding population. Most governments and non-governmental institutions have heavily invested in the agriculture industry to provide enough food for the people. Nevertheless, the food produced is insufficient to feed the anticipated populace (Rose et al., 2021). Consequently, experts teamed up with agricultural enthusiasts to develop new technologies based on genetic modification to boost the world’s food supply.
With the current population increase and expected population growth by 2030, the globe is running out of resources. Food consumption rises in tandem with global population growth, leading in greater use of agricultural surface and groundwater resources (Rose et al., 2021). It is especially visible in the lack of appropriate food-producing technology and integrated programs that concurrently address population food and animal reproductive health needs. It indicates that there will be a food crisis if food production does not rise in tandem with population growth (Devos et al., 2022). It might be problematic since food scarcity would significantly impact the population. Before it’s too late, world governments and non-governmental groups ought to focus on solving this issue.
The use of genetic engineering in agriculture
If additional funds and effort are invested in genetic engineering, the agriculture industry will be transformed in 20 years. Genetic engineering has resulted in the genetic engineering of many species of plants, resulting in a rise in the output of genetically modified agricultural plants and livestock. It has resulted in progress in the agriculture sector (Bakker & Berendsen, 2022). Enhanced agricultural production, lower drug and food cost of production, decreased pesticide use, improved nutritional content and quality of food, diseases and pests rigidity, higher nutrition security, and medical advantages to the world’s population increase are among the benefits of genetic engineering in agriculture. Corn types having a gene for a microbial insecticide that eliminates larval bugs and soybeans having an added gene that makes them immune to weed-killers like roundup are two instances of Genetically engineered crops (Devos et al., 2022). Researchers may transmit desired genetics through one crop or animal to another via genetic engineering. Animal genomes can be transmitted to crops and conversely.
My position on the application of genetic engineering in agriculture
The implementation of genetic engineering in agriculture has been a significant step forward in enhancing the food supply to meet the world’s growing population. According to research from the National Center of Biotechnology, genetically engineered foods have garnered an essential worldwide market. As a consequence, the press has turned its attention to the potential advantages of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). As a result, a contentious discussion has erupted regarding the effect of genetically modified foods on human health and the environment.
Genetic engineering has resulted in the creation of novel animals and plant types (Babiye et al., 2020). Irrespective of shifting environmental variables, this has enhanced the viability of the food supply. Until recently, the production of widely embraced animals and plants was a time-consuming and laborious procedure that required frequent cross-over from one generation to the next. The technique could not provide a consistent and effective response to the growing need for higher-quality food products. Genetic engineering has sped up the process and resulted in more crop kinds in fewer generations (Lotz et al., 2020).
This method can detect genes accountable for poor traits in crops and solely support the transmission of sound characteristics. In agriculture, genetic engineering can develop engineered crops resistant to various environmental challenges and can tolerate insect and disease damage in the soil. Farmers have been able to provide more food despite an increase in the number of crops and illnesses. Crops are genetically modified to generate compounds that are harmful to insects yet not to animals or people, providing for greater yields. Because predatory insects do not eat these plants, farmers earn more money owing to increased crop yields and less usage of agrochemicals (Redden, 2021). When contrasted to traditional crops, the decrease of damages due to viruses, pests, and weeds that contend for soil minerals, as well as savings in phytosanitary agents and energy, effectively increases the ultimate output.
Genetic engineering innovation has the ability to enter into the genomic sequence and change the biological code for various aspects, including protein composition in crops. This phenomenon has been highly beneficial since proteins are essential in human diets (Rose et al., 2021). Genetic modifications that code for the development rate have proven a significant breakthrough and a tremendous advantage, mainly when climatic circumstances fluctuate. Crops that mature sooner have helped numerous farmers in impoverished countries where drought-resistant crops constitute the primary diet.
Problems facing genetic engineering in agriculture
The risk of hurting the ecosystem, animals, and human wellness is a possible disputed socio-economic concern affecting genetic engineering technologies in the agriculture industry. A significant movement against genetically modified goods as food has been begun by non-governmental groups, researchers, and anti-GMO advocates. The majority of them suggest that a gene found in crop types might be used to convey a unique trait to another creature. Rather than the stated goal, the campaigners point to horizontal gene transmission to other species. Antibiotic resistance, for example, could be imparted to microorganisms involved in the process of transcription (Bakker & Berendsen, 2022). Because new bacteria may not react to currently known antimicrobials, this could represent a severe hazard to the ecosystem and humans. As a result, the health of animals and humans would be jeopardized.
The increased rivalry with natural species has raised many worries among some public because companies involved in GMO development may end in biological species feud due to selective pressures. Private firms might eventually take over the operation, resulting in monoculture and starvation for people without access to genetically modified kinds (Devos et al., 2022). It is a significant issue across the world. A modest alteration in the diversity of an entity in an environment could have a detrimental impact on the environment and reduce its diversity. As a result, using genetic engineering on animals changed the genetic makeup of creatures, changing their ecological interactions (Lotz et al., 2020).
If unanticipated issues develop, most genetically engineered species lack a suitable and unambiguous follow-up strategy. It is comparable to when traditionally grown plants cross. If the species acquiring the horizontally transferred gene is a harmful microbe or pest with increased pathogenicity, this might significantly impact the entire environment. In such situations, farmers worry about weed infestations and insect problems (Babiye et al., 2020). The endogenous gene may be diverted whenever horizontal gene transfer happens in different loci in the receiving organism, resulting in unexpected consequences. The administration agencies might not have influence over new species that have experienced horizontal gene transfer in this circumstance. It means that species may exhibit diverse gene varieties that are not managed by administration, presenting a threat to the environment.
Another major issue influencing genetic engineering in agriculture is genetically engineered species’ moral considerations regarding the order of nature. The argument is that genetic engineering technology disrupts the natural order, which will soon result in a complete shift in biodiversity (Bakker & Berendsen, 2022). Since the clerics believed that genetically producing novel commodities and species was against God’s purpose, this is a religious stance. It is based on the long-term effects of agricultural genetic engineering technologies.
Government and non-government health and environmental authorities have done a study on the technologies after assessing the significant issues regarding GMOs. The outcomes of the survey have alleviated fears regarding GMOs. Before introducing genetically modified crops, ecological risk assessments and concerns were conducted. These experiments take place in a controlled setting, and the crops are discharged into the wild following a series of prospective risk-benefit analyses. The procedure has aided in preserving and protecting the ecosystem and human well-being (Redden, 2021). The improved study correlates directly with enhanced GMO safety. Researchers have researched to assess the impact of biotechnology on human, animal, and environmental health. Research investigations are undertaken on a case-by-case basis to avoid biases associated with the combined examination of GMO problems. Genetic engineers believe that their actions are being watched, which raises the living circumstances of individuals throughout the world. As a result, biotechnology has become a benchmark for improving agricultural production, and it plays a critical role in guaranteeing global food security (Babiye et al., 2020). A few of these plants may help farmers operate more efficiently and safely. It frees up time for producers to focus on other economic pursuits rather than tending their crops. As a consequence, the benefits of genetic engineering outnumber the drawbacks.
Babiye, B., Haile, G., & Adamu, M. (2020). Major Achievements of Plant Biotechnology in Crop Improvements. American Journal of Life Sciences, 8(5), 102-106.
Bakker, P. A., & Berendsen, R. L. (2022). The soil‐borne ultimatum, microbial biotechnology and sustainable agriculture. Microbial Biotechnology, 15(1), 84.
Devos, Y., Oberkofler, L., & Glandorf, D. C. (2022). Genetically modified plants and food/feed: Risk assessment considerations.
Lotz, L. A., van de Wiel, C. C., & Smulders, M. J. (2020). Genetic engineering at the heart of agroecology. Outlook on Agriculture, 49(1), 21-28.
Redden, R. (2021). Genetic modification for agriculture—proposed revision of GMO regulation in Australia. Plants, 10(4), 747.
Rose, D. C., Wheeler, R., Winter, M., Lobley, M., & Chivers, C. A. (2021). Agriculture 4.0: Making it work for people, production, and the planet. Land Use Policy, 100, 104933.