Genetically Modified Foods Research Paper

Pages: 10 (3196 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 6  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Genetics

SAMPLE EXCERPT . . .
This resulted in the adoption of alternatives to respond to the emergence of new strains of organisms resistant to the chemicals (Finucane & Holup, 2005).

Today, genetically modification of food has advanced across the globe. Statistical analysis shows that about 8.25 million farmers grew genetic modified food in 2005. They are expected to triple by 2015. In terms of market share, the soybeans account for approximately 60% of the genetically modified food, maize 23%, cotton, 11%, and canola accounting for approximately 6% of the global crop production. Country wise, the U.S. is the leading proponents of the advancement of the genetic engineering of food and animals. This implies that the U.S. leads in the integration of the genetic engineering technology and supply of genetically engineered food globally (Hodge, 2009).

Cultural context of genetic Engineering of food and other organisms

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It is highly recognizable that the introduction of genetic engineering has stimulated heated debates on its dangers to the society. Most of the discussions focus on the effects of the technology to the agricultural sector. The debates extend to the cultural field as seen in one of the commentary features in one of the dailies in Germany, where it stated, "it is ultimately clear that genetic modified food has created cultural differences between the Americans and the Europeans." The long-term effects of genetically engineered organisms remain unpredicted. Sociologists consider that the success of genetic engineering will give rise to impetus and unsettling tendencies that will pose a significant threat to the cultural contexts of the global society. The manipulative treatment used by the technology and the breeding of monocultures that rely on the drug driven medicine is likely to replace the social and environmental policy. This will affect the cultural stability of the global society. Genetic engineering will replace the social and environmental policies of sustainability leading to the development of human beings considered optimally adapted to the environment. This will result in social problems that degrade the cultural values and sustainability (Kynda, 2004).

Research Paper on Genetically Modified Foods Assignment

The fact that the technology has been associated with fewer risks to the human life and the environment, sociologists, raise fictitious scenarios associated with the technology that might affect the natural biodiversity. This includes fictitious hazards such as the increased likelihood of the uncontrolled release of infectious viruses, bacterium of plant species that could increase the risks of ecological damage. This leads to the creation of the belief that genetic engineering is postulated to have a negative impact to the global society as the nuclear power. It is recognizable that genetic engineering provides an alternative for treating diseases affecting human beings. This raises the moral question of whether if doing so is "right or wrong." The idea of selective breeding raises the cultural concerns on the overall implications of the process to the society as a whole (Herring, 2006).

The acceptance of genetic engineering of food varies significantly across different cultures. The variation is influenced by an individual's perception, knowledge of the genetically modified food, and the perceived benefits or risks associated with the genetically modified food. A survey conducted by, Conner, Glare, & Nap (2003) to determine the perception of the Chinese population showed that they feared most the increased risk of the technology to the environment. They feared the risks of the technology interfering with the cultural stability and loss of the concrete nature. Besides, the population feared the risks of the technology to the environment. This included the loss of the cultural values and beliefs on certain food considered having cultural value to the society. As a result, they strive to establish equilibrium between the perceived negative effects to the culture as well as their health and the environment (Hodge, 2009).

The introduction of the genetically modified food is likely to promote monopoly in the agricultural markets. The corporations involved in the production of this food create monopolies using traditional breeding practices. This forces the farmers to purchase new seeds from these corporations on a yearly basis, thereby, creating a sense of monopoly in the global market. According to Finucane & Holup (2005), genetic modification of organisms promotes technicism. Technicism refers to the basic scientific attitude of having control over reality and solving the natural problems using scientific-technological methods. This raises cultural concerns as increased technicism from the adoption of the genetic engineering deprives societies the autonomy to have control over their reality. Human nature seeks for victory over the unprecedented events in the future. This results in the neglect of the basic cultural values that guide human beings in the daily decision making processes (Fisher, 1992).

The increased adoption of the genetic engineering of organisms reduces and dehumanizes relationships within the society. This fragments the social structures that are central to the maintenance of cultural sustainability. According to the systems theory, genetic engineering causes numerous problems that include environmental, resources and energy crises alongside promoting human alienation (Kynda, 2004). Genetic engineering is a cultural activity, and scientific metaphors are embedded within the cultural values and ethical frameworks. Genetic engineering influences the relationships between human beings and other species. The technology changes human cultural and ethical assumptions about the reality. This implies that increasing over reliance on the technology will result in the naturalistic fallacy constructed on scientific bases. In addition, technology systems such as genetic engineering are embodied in ethics of social conduct. This creates a strong relationship between the technology and social issues such as equity, and social justice that influence directly socio-cultural values (Fisher, 1992).

Genetic engineering of organisms raises three key sets of cultural concerns. Firstly is the concern for other species. This includes issues related to the integrity and intrinsic worth of other species that the form the key values guiding the conservation of biodiversity. Secondly, the environmental concern for the need for the conservation of the ecosystem and sustainable utilization of the available resources, which underpin cultural values. Thirdly is the concern for social justice in terms of access to the natural resources that represent the social culture. Despite the above cultural challenges associated with genetic engineering, it is appreciable that it forms the basis of genetic research into cultural issues associated with it. It shapes the culture of the society by eliminating inequalities and challenges such as poverty through the increased availability of food products to the population (Conner, Glare, & Nap, 2003).

Influence of the media on genetic modification of food

It is highly appreciable that the media plays a significant role in influencing the acceptability of the genetic modification technology globally. The media provides new information and discoveries associated with the genetic engineering of organisms to the public. Empirical evidence shows that the media plays an ambivalent role influencing the adoption of the agricultural biotechnology and its products (Herring, 2006). It influences the attitude and perception of the public to these products. This occurs through the ability of the media to frame the relative risks and benefits associated with technology. As such, this implies that the degree to which the media emphasizes on specific issues influences the priority accorded to them by the public. Hence, the larger the volume and prominence of the media coverage, the more the public evaluate the benefits associated with the technology (Finucane & Holup, 2005).

According to the setting theory, mass media not only lends salience on the technology, but also frame discussion and interests around it. Editors and journalists employ frames depending on their understanding, whilst conforming to the limitations such as space and deadlines. Thus, they might end up emphasizing in minor issues that influence the perception of the public with the technology. Convergence of the agenda setting by the media can bring greater unity in the knowledge and understanding of the population to the technology. The media determines the attributes of a product or idea in the market place. This includes the cognitive information about the technology that influences the perception of the public with the technology. Cockburn (2002) argues that framing techniques used by the media such as repeating or reinforcing an approach makes it more salient and visible to the public. This will determine the adoption and acceptance of the technology among the members of the society. This coincides with studies conducted by psychologists such as Conner, Glare, & Nap (2003) found that people have tendencies of overestimating the magnitude of risk or benefit depending on the ways in which the media presents to the public. This suggests that the ways in which the media frames the benefits and risks associated with genetic modification of organisms' influences ways in which the public responds to issues associated with it or embrace the technology.

Conclusion

Conclusively, the above analysis has shown that genetic engineering of food has undergone significant transformations. The origin of the technology traces back to the prehistoric periods when the scientists struggled to understand the mechanisms required to improve agricultural productivity. However, the early and late twentieth century saw significant transformations in the field of genetic engineering that ultimately led to the introduction… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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