Genetically Modified Crops: Create a major research question followed by several sub-inquiry questions.

Project 3 Writing Sample
Date Month Year
GMCs: Genetically Modified Crops
Genetically Modified Crops, or GMCs, are plants in which the DNA has been scientifically altered to show specific characteristics that aren’t otherwise present in those plants. GMCs are becoming more and more popular, especially in the U.S. However, there are still parts of the world, mainly in Europe, where genetically modified crops aren’t legal. The safety both for humans and the environment, has been the center of the argument for many years now, but the advantages of using such crops outweigh the disadvantages. The benefits that GMCs have are perceived both on the framers’ and the consumers’ side. In fact, most of these genetic modifications lead to a higher yield and better products for consumers.
One of the major advantages of GMCs is that by altering their DNA, scientists have been able to make crops produce substances that make them poisonous to the pests that would otherwise attack them. In this case the modification of the crops’ DNA led to a decrease in pesticide use on the farmers’ side and therefore to less pesticide getting into consumers’ food. A successful example of DNA modification in a crop that has led to a decrease in pesticide use is BT Sweet Corn. In this variety of corn, DNA has been altered so that the crop produces a protein, known as BT, that keeps away Earworms (Heliocoverpa zea), the most common pest causing damage to corn. In fact, according to a recent study “[…]Bt sweet corn has the potential to significantly reduce the use of conventional insecticides against lepidopteran pests and, in turn, reduce occupational and environmental risks that arise from intensive insecticide use” (Shelton et al. 2151). However, even to good characteristics of GMCs as this one might be, there are downsides . In fact, according to Dr. Szendrei, in MSU Entomology Department , some researchers have found that the very BT protein that keeps pests such as the Earworm away is harming other insects, such as Monarch butterflies, that don’t damage the crop, and only visit corn fields for their pollen. Nonetheless, the benefit of using fewer pesticides thanks to DNA modifications in crops, still outweighs smaller collateral damages . In fact, not decreasing the amount of pesticides farmers use might on the long run cause problems both to human health and to the environment.
Another advantage of using GMCs is that nutrients can be added to them and harmful substances can be taken away, to make these vegetables healthier for consumers. For example, scientists are working on gene modifications that increase the amount of vitamins that can be found in carrots (“GM Crops” 2 ). On the other hand, scientists have also been working on ways to decrease the amount of harmful substances naturally present in some vegetables. “Soon new GM potatoes will be available, that have less acrylamide, a substance harmful to human health, naturally present in potatoes” says Dr. Szendrei. Nevertheless, an argument has been made against GM crops since they were first introduced in the market, that they might also have collateral effects for human health. There’s not been any scientific proof yet that this might be the case, but still experts in the field especially in Europe, have been supporting this stance . Since there’s no scientific proof of the contrary, I still believe that the possibility of changing some of the components of GMCs is a very good opportunity that scientists might want to dig in for further discoveries.
A further enhancement that can be made to crops through genetic modification is herbicide resistance. Growers in particular look forward to this very important characteristic. In fact, herbicide resistance allows growers to spray their crops with herbicide in order to kill weeds, but leaving the crop itself unharmed. This of course, enables farmers to save money on the people they would otherwise pay to constantly remove weeds that would damage their crops. On the other side, it also yields to higher harvests which means that there will be more and better food available for consumers. However, even such a characteristic may come with some downsides. In fact, according to some scientists, the genes that enable the vegetables that have them to survive those herbicides they’re being sprayed with, can be transmitted from one plant to another. “On the long run”, says Dr. Szendrei, “this might lead to weeds resistant to the herbicide that growers are trying to kill them with”.
Despite the many benefits that Genetically Modified Crops have, the debate on whether they should be commercialized more or not, is still very active. In fact, until very recently most of Europe was very much against the idea of opening up its markets to Genetically Modified Crops, as little was known about their side effects on people’s health. However, in June 2013, Owen Paterson, the British secretary of state for the environment, announced Britain’s new openness to further research and development in the area of Genetically Modified Crops (Galbraith, Kate). The action taken by Britain opens a new possibility for openness towards genetically engineered foods in Europe, although there won’t be a change in opinion right away, it is still a progress.
In conclusion, as to most things, there are both good and bad sides to GM Crops. Some of the major benefits include a decrease in pesticide use, a better control of the nutritional facts present in our food and a resistance to herbicide, which leads to a greater yield. There are however, possible side effects, as scientists haven’t been able to understand if these crops can actually cause damage to human health, and some of the characteristics that are good in crops can be transmitted to other plants, such as weeds, which are what growers are trying to fight. Even so, the benefits still outweigh the possible collateral damages, as in fact, says Dr. Szendrei, “With the world population growing as it is, this might be the only way to provide enough food to feed this many people”.
Works Cited
Galbraith, Kate. “Attitudes on Crops are Modifying.” New York Times . New York Times, 10 Jul. 2013. Web. 15 Oct. 2013
“GM Crops.” Farmers Guardian (2009): 2. ProQuest. Web. 15 Oct. 2013.
Shelton M. A., Olmstead D. L., Burkness E.C., Hutchison W. D., Dively G., Welty C. and Sparks N. “Multi-State Trials of Bt Sweet Corn Varieties for Control of the Corn Earworm (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae).” Journal of Economic Entomology 106.5 (2013): 2152-59. Web. 14 Oct. 2013.
Szendrei, Zsofia. Personal Interview. 14 Oct. 2013 .
Project 3 Research Paper
So far you have completed two narrative papers. Now we are going to work on a longer paper which involves more researches. At the same time this paper will continue to use and develop the skills you’ve been working on all along: sound analytic and critical thinking, reading, and writing skills. This paper will also further your understanding of how you will join the academic discourse while you practice meeting the expectations for writing in higher education.
For this assignment, you will need do research to provide various evidences (such as facts, statistics, examples and expert opinion) to convince your readers of the correctness of your opinion. As we have been practicing writing, I suggest (thought not require) you choose a topic on writing.
· Create a major research question followed by several sub-inquiry questions
· Major research question is the “thesis statement” of your essay.
Use multiple sources to make your writing/ideas
ethical and logical
Suggested structure
· Introduce your title in at least 2-4 sentences. Then, discuss the main research question and sub-inquiry questions.
· Develop your argument into 3-4 parts
· Give a topic sentence for each part
· Bring examples and other evidences to support your ideas/claims
· Include counter arguments (rebuttal) to make your arguments objective
· Restate your sub-inquiry questions
· Do not introduce new topic/idea in your conclusion
Sources (no less than 3 sources)
· Required– Scholarly Journal article
· Recommended- other formally written articles
· Recommended- Interview
Learning Goals
· To engage in academic research writing and, through this, to discover the methods of writing, communication, research, and technology used in research paper.
· To engage in academic research, including finding and evaluating sources, as well as analyzing and synthesizing the information they contain.
· To develop the ability to use logical arguments in writing.
Be sure that you meet the following requirements:
· No less than 1200 words, double-spaced (not including the Works Cited, if applicable)
· MLA Format and Citation Style
Useful links
Introductions, Body Paragraphs, and Conclusions for Argument Papers:
For more help with MLA, visit these OWL pages:
MLA 2009 Formatting and Style Guide
MLA Update 2009 Overview
You may also refer to our textbook Little Brown Handbook: Part 7, “Research Writing” and Part 8, “Writing in the Disciplines” (for MLA format).
�Thesis statement.
�Topic sentence./claim
�Evidence: example
�expert opinion/in-text citation
�Evidence: interview
�Is it harmful for human heath?
�More explanation?
�Topic sentence.
�In-text citation
�Topic sentence.
�Any supporting statistics?
�Topic sentence/rebuttal
�Consider the audience: make it clear and accessible to your readers.
�Works Cited
�Title of articles
�Title of book/journal/newspaper
�Citation for interview.

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