Essay: Evolution in Agriculture

Pages: 2 (673 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Agriculture  ·  Buy This Paper

Evolution in agriculture: Genetically modified organism (GMO)

The domestication of plants and animals unintentionally, and later intentionally, resulted in the promotion and sustenance of certain traits over other traits within domesticated species. It also affected the development of the living creatures of the world as a whole, given that certain species were favored over other species and new plants were imported and exported all over the world by humans, far faster than would have naturally occurred. Plants we take for granted as part of native cuisines such as the tomato in Southern Italy, the potato in Ireland, and corn in America are all imports: "every crop in North America other than the blueberry, Jerusalem artichoke, sunflower, and squash are borrowed from elsewhere" (Prakash 2001). Originally, there was suspicion of these new crops but then these plants became integrated into the culture and national cuisine.

However, genetic engineering of plants, such as the insertion of one vector of another species through a virus, plasmid, Yeast Artificial Chromosome (YAC) or other means to effectively reprogram the organism's DNA has proven far more controversial than plant cross-breeding or hybridization: or, at least humans view such modifications with the same kind of suspicion they felt when they worried that potatoes were poisonous when the plant was brought from the New World to the Old! In genetic modification, in most cases, only one or two additional proteins are added to the plant's DNA, which are then broken down either during processing or digestion (Prakash 2001).

Scientists see this as a natural extension of selective breeding, such as breeding chickens for larger breasts or pigs with leaner flesh, to suit consumer tastes (Hall & Hallgrimsson 2008, p.649). "Through a process of gradual selection, our ancestors chose a very tiny section of the wild plant community and transformed it into cultivated crops. Some profound alterations in the plant phenotype occurred during such selection, and these include determinate growth habit; elimination of grain shattering; synchronous ripening; shorter maturity; reduction of bitterness and harmful toxins;… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Evolution in Agriculture.  (2010, January 6).  Retrieved August 18, 2019, from

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"Evolution in Agriculture."  January 6, 2010.  Accessed August 18, 2019.