Genetically Engineered Crops and Malnutrition.
Jayakumar, Ambika R.
Tisch Library Undergraduate Research Award Winner, 2019
Tisch Library Undergraduate Research Award. Abstract: According to the World Health Organization, malnutrition accounts for a staggering 45% of all deaths in children under the age of five. Malnutrition refers to any disorder brought on by improper diet; in developing countries, an improper diet is usually the result of a sc... read morearcity of food or a lack of certain nutrients. Although organizations like the United Nations have cited some success in addressing malnutrition, hunger remains one of the most urgent issues that the world must face. Studies show that the projected yields of major crops simply will not sustain the growing world population: “Global agricultural production may need to be increased by 60%-110%...to provide food security to the ~870 million now chronically undernourished” (Ray et al.). Genetically modified crops have the potential to considerably lessen the effects of malnutrition, as progress in the technology has already shown. Genetic modification offers the possibility of altering the nutritional value of any given crop with more precision than has been previously available to scientists. The technology also has the potential to respond directly to modern agriculture’s foremost problem by artificially increasing the yield of high-demand crops. The greatest difficulty with genetic engineering is the uncertainty of its peripheral effects. GMOs may be able to fight malnutrition, but they may also have detrimental effects on the environment, or unforeseen health consequences, to name just two of the possibilities. Thus, the successful implementation of genetic engineering to combat malnutrition will ultimately require major revisions and additions to the current policies regulating the agricultural industry.read less