Genetically Modified Corn by Atmika Sarukkai, Chloe Nicolaou, Selina Zhang, and Claire Moley

                Genetic modification of crops, when described simply, is  when people take a gene from an organism and apply it to a crop, in order for the crop to possess a desired trait. Genetic modification improves the taste of crops, make them more nutritional, improve resistance from pests, and may also conserve resources because they may not need as many resources to survive. Genetic modification, or GM can also be bad because the DNA and protein that is changed in the plants may harm insects causing death and may also negatively impact the ecosystem. As a solution, part of EPA requirements for farmers is for those who plant BT corn have to plant non-BT corn to provide a safe shelter for pests and insects that are vulnerable towards the genetically modified corn.

               The altered DNA of the genetically modified corn and B.T proteins used in them contribute to the elimination of harmless insects. The altered DNA of the G.M corn is not sustainable to the beneficial insects, which affects their natural cycles making them vulnerable to the new changes and kills them. The B.T proteins that are used in the genetically modified corn are also found in insect sprays, which kill all insects including beneficial ones. When B.T proteins are used in the G.M corn, they cannot control getting rid of only pests, but all insects including the vulnerable ones. These causes made from the genetically modified corn caused the destruction of the harmless insects as well as the pests.

           BT corn can have positive and negative effects on the environment. Genetically modified corn has been proven to cause no greater health issues towards humans than conventional foods. Although BT corn does not have an effect on humans it has a harmful effect on insects, and in some cases it can be fatal towards the insects. The BT corn kills pests. However there is no possible way to only kill pests, so the BT corn also kills the beneficial insects. The protein activates within the gut of the vulnerable insects. A toxin is formed and it paralyzes the digestive system of the insect, and it forms a hole in the gutwall. This prevents the ability to eat, and the insect will stop eating, and eventually starve. The pollen of the corn can kill the larvae of the insects, specifically monarch butterflies.

               We think that there are multiple ways to solve the environmental issues due to BT corn. We think that the most effective solution would be “art of EPA requirements for farmers is that for the people who plant BT corn have to plant non-BT corn to provide a refuge for pests and insects that are vulnerable towards the genetically modified corn.” Not only has it proven to be one of the most affected solution that has been attempted to solve this problem but in a way it is a compromise. The farmers will still be able to plant BT corn however be obligated to plant non-BT corn to provide a refuge for insects that are vulnerable to the BT. From 2003 to 2005 studies show that farmers keeping up these refuges was 90%.  This shows that this as effective even though it has had drops in percentages however it could be one of the most effective.

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