Caring for Earth
GMOs and the Environment, Part 2

GMOs and the Environment, Part 2
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 9 to 12
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   9.77

     challenging words:    cross-pollinated, endotoxin, haphazard, organically, re-evaluate, regression, thuringiensis, potent, prudent, organic, untrue, monsanto, killers, modification, potentially, technological
     content words:    Round UpTM, United States

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GMOs and the Environment, Part 2
By Mary Lynn Bushong

1     What are the risks to the environment if genetically modified crops are made available? Those risks will depend in part on how the plants are engineered. It's entirely possible that some genetically modified plants would have no real negative effect on the environment. It's also possible that some genetically modified plants might have catastrophic effects on the whole world. Testing both by the manufacturer and independent labs is the key to uncovering the risks.
2     Monsanto is a company that manufactures weed killers. Monsanto says that genetically modified crops will require much less weed killer. This is completely untrue. Round UpTM is a popular weed killer, and this has been incorporated into the DNA of Round UpTM ready soy. That means plants sprayed with it will not die. Farmers used to be very careful of how they used weed killers, so the crop wouldn't be damaged. Now the whole field is sprayed with the weed killer. One of the results of this increased spraying is that it now threatens 74 endangered species of plants in the U.S. alone. Add to that the fact that Round UpTM is also a very potent human poison. Why would people want to consume a food product that contains a known poison?
3     Another potential hazard is that genetically modified plants can cross with their wild cousins, producing super weeds. Some that are modified to produce a Bt endotoxin have done just that. The Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) in the plant causes insects to stop eating and die. What happens, though, when beneficial insects like Monarch butterflies, green lacewings, and lady bugs are affected?

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