Gene Technology

Genetically modified crop plants

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Biological basis
Genetically modified organisms are animals, microorganisms, and plants whose genetic
makeup have been altered through natural recombination or by mating such that the genetic
material does not appear as in the normal, natural plant. This process of changing the DNA of the
organism is called Genetic Engineering. The plant whose genetic material has been altered by
artificially introducing a gene or genes in the plant’s genetic makeup is referred to as a
Transgenic plant. This process uses the biotechnology techniques that transfer the genes to the
host plant either from the same species or different kind and species. A vector that may contain
other elements like antibiotic resistance, marker genes, viral promoters and transcription
terminators is used to insert the gene of interest into the host plant (In Norer, 2016). The
transferred gene affects the functioning of the plant and its characters. After transgenic is created,
it can pass on the newly adopted characteristic to its off springs that will follow through
The technique uses the biolistic (gene gun) which shoots the gene of interest in the cells
of the plant. The gene gun usually shoots the DNA in the plant cells or tissue subsequently and
under high pressure (Halford, 2012). The accelerated particles are produced by the gun at high
pressure and they penetrate the cell membrane and cell wall of the plant cells. The separation of
the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) occurs, and it is integrated into the host plant inside the
nucleus of DNA. The method has been successful especially in monocots like maize, but the
main limitation of this technique is that it damages the cellular tissue.
The main aim of this technology is to introduce new plants characteristics that do not
exist in natural plants. In most cases, the genetically modified plants usually have more and
better traits than the natural plants. One of its objectives is to increase the crop protection. The

modified plants can withstand harsh weather conditions making them more preferred in the
present days since the weather has become unpredictable. Secondly, the plants can germinate and
grow at a higher rate than the natural plants hence there are useful tools for fighting drought. The
transgenic plant has another distinctive trait of been resistance against insects. Pest like aphids
and cutworms attacks the crop and farmers are required to spray their plants against this insect.
The new plants contain a gene that produces toxin and does not need spraying as the pest does
not attack them as compared to the natural plants. The world as a whole has been facing the
challenge of food crises, and this has been the primary objective that has contributed to the
invention of this technology.
Ethical and Social Implications
Genetic engineering of crop plants has both negative and positive social and ethical
implications. One of the positive impacts of GMF is that they help to reduce air pollution from
the human. Natural plants usually require regular spraying which pollutes water, air, and the soil.
Environment conservation has been an issue that everybody should put in the mind. Pollution has
caused a lot of harm to the environments examples is some animals have come to extinct due to
the changes of the environments, increase in water levels in seas and oceans the due to global
warming and unpredictable weather conditions (Ferry & Gatehouse, 2009) . Secondly, this
technology has introduced more varieties of horticultural products that are more designed to fits
the expectation of the consumers and are more nutritious since they contain mixed traits. Some
of these crops have been sources of vitamins example the Golden rice which has high enrichment
of vitamin A. Bio Cassavas are found to have a high concentration of proteins and other
nutrients. This Genetically modified crop products are also cheaper than the natural products
which offer them an added advantage to the society. The technology has also played a significant

role in fighting the issue of food shortage ("Transgenic Crops: An Introduction and Resource
Guide," 2017). The genetically modified crop plants are found to be more productive, and they
can grow within a shorter period. Hunger has been a major problem facing the developing
countries, and through the efficient application of this technology, it can help to reduce this issue.
However, although the genetically modified crops have been beneficial to the society, on
the other hand, it has some risks and negative implications associated with it. One of the negative
implication is that these crops are found to be carcinogenic. According to various research
conducted concerning this foods, found that some genetically modified crops can cause cancer.
Secondly, the plants produce an allergic reaction to some people the first incident identified in
1990’s where soybeans developed by HI-Bred were allergic to some people (In Norer, 2016).
Also from the introduction of this new crops, many people have abandoned their staple foods,
and their taste is on these new plants food. These new crops have an adverse effect on the
immune system.
Personal view point
In my own opinion, Genetic engineering like any other innovation it has both the positive
and the adverse impact. The technology has more benefits than the negatives that it causes to the
society, and the technology has been adopted by many nations both developed and developing. I
support the program since it has resolved some of the challenges like food shortage facing many
developing countries. The government should regulate this technology to avoid introduction of
unverified new crops that may have an adverse impact on human health and the society.



Ferry, N., & Gatehouse, A. M. (2009). Environmental impact of genetically modified crops.
Wallingford: CABI.
Halford, N. G. (2012). Genetically modified crops. London: Imperial College Press.
In Norer, R. (2016). Genetic Technology and Food Safety. Cham: Springer International
Transgenic Crops: An Introduction and Resource Guide. (2017). Retrieved from