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Nature vs Nurture (Part 5) - GM - Benefits vs the Impacts

Shelley Inkster - Monday, July 04, 2016

Genetic engineering & modification – benefits versus the impacts

Genetically modified cotton has led to a huge decrease in pesticide application and more efficient production. GM crops can be engineered to target fertilizer and herbicide reduction and allow greater yields in difficult conditions – water and salt tolerance, and disease resistance. The result will likely be increased population, consumption and pollution.

Genetic engineering allows us to shut down disease and for preventative screening ensuring a better survival rate. Again, the result will likely be increased population, consumption and pollution.

How do we compare and factor the benefits versus challenges?

On the one hand by using genetic engineering to improve food production we could alleviate suffering and under-nourishment in the poorer regions of the world. Alternatively, we increase food production and those who are over-nourished suffer chronic morbidity or mortality from lifestyle diseases. Current trends suggest the latter.

Could we take advantage of the ‘breathing space’ that genetic engineering offers and then try to focus once again on limiting the rate of population growth?

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