A rise in consumer power has led many growers of fresh produce to think more about the appeal of their products. Today’s consumer is more concerned about the appearance of the food they buy; therefore, colour, size and shape have become extremely important if farmers wish to remain competitive.
What is Genetic Modification?
This is a scientific process whereby a desirable gene is identified in one organism and is inserted into another that does not normally carry that gene. This provides the recipient with the desired characteristics. Genetically modifying crops can tackle farming problems such as pests, crop yields and the shelf-life of produce.
What Are The Advantages?
Apart from aesthetic advantages like colour and shape consistency, GM crops can be manipulated into being more resistant to herbicides and pesticides, thus improving food quality. Farmers can also experience a drop in costs, having to purchase fewer chemicals. There are also environmental benefits, because less pesticides means less toxins being released into the environment.
Another benefit of GM produce is that farmers are no longer reliant on particular weather conditions to yield a good crop. GM crops can be engineered to withstand poor weather conditions, such as drought. This would ensure continuous yield, regular sales for the farmer and consistency of products for the consumer.
Livestock Quality and GM Technology
Another important aspect of GM technology for improving food quality relates to livestock. Animals can be engineered to be leaner, require less food, and thus lower feeding costs. Another benefit is the potential to increase milk output in cows. GM Technology can also reduce diseases in livestock, thus saving the farming industry millions in costs.
What Is The Future For Genetic Modification?
Much controversy still surrounds GM foods. Long-term studies are still proving their safety and they have many critics. They still have tremendous potential to improve food quality, increase shelf-life and reduce pests and diseases, however much needs to be done to convince the public that natural is not always best. Science and technology is there to help it along. Research will continue and caution will ensure that all foods are declared safe before consumption.
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