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 Genetic Modification of Crops

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PostSubject: Genetic Modification of Crops   12/03/09, 09:55 pm

Average and Yield Trends
Grains were made by:
o Dwarf varieties: plants are bred to allocate more of their photosynthetic out put to grain and less to vegetative parts
o Planting in closer rows, allowed by herbicides, increases in yields.
o Bred to be less sensitive to day length, thus double cropping is more plausible
o Very sensitive to inputs of fertilizer and water

Technical and resource limitation problems
o Heavy use of fresh water
o High dependence on technology and machinery provided/sold by core countries
o Heavy use of pesticides and fertilizers
o Reduced genetic diversity/ increased blight vulnerability
o Questionable overall sustainability

Ethical Issues
o Starvation of many can be prevented, but extra food may lead to higher birth rates
o Life expectancy in LDCs increased by 10 years in less than two decades (43 in 1950s and 53 in 1970s)
o Dependency on core countries increased; rich-poor gap increased
o Wealthy farmers and multinational companies do well, small farmers become wage laborers or unemployed- dependent
o More at risk? More people malnourished/starving today than in 1956 (but lower as a percentage)
o Us spends 10 billion a year on farm subsidies, damaging farmers and markets in LDCs
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