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Murray Edwards College
University of Cambridge

School Winner: Can GM crops be the solution to starvation?

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    10 May

    GM crops are genetically modified crops. This means that a gene has been removed and replaced by another gene that holds a certain characteristic which will make the plant more appealing for humans. Plants can be modified to reproduce at a faster rate, look aesthetically appealing, produce food and even last longer without H2O (water). All these are appealing characteristics that can perhaps change our future and meet the needs of our growing population.

    How does it work?

    The process is quite quick and simple compare to selective breeding.  The gene with the characteristic needed is isolated from the plant containing it using an enzyme. It is then inserted into the vector (a virus or bacterial plasmid). The vector introduced to the organism where the useful gene is inserted into the cell.

    The Benefits:

    • The plant can become resistant to diseases therefore fewer crops will be lost and more will be sent to trade increasing the economical budget of the farmer
    • Plants can look aesthetically appealing meaning more people will buy and eat from it
    • There will be an increase in land full of GM crops, this will increase the number of employers and their salaries will increase as more crops are being sold out.
    • Plants will be able to grow practically anywhere reducing food shortages meaning fewer people will die of starvation.
    • Golden Rice is a GM crop containing beta-carotene, which reduces the chance of people becoming blind.


    There are always some disadvantages to new scientific technology such as this one:

    -It can reduce biodiversity on farmland.

    -Some people are worried that it could cause an increase in allergies.

    -Plants may become herbicide resistant, creating a super-weed.

    Overall there may be some disadvantages with GM crops, but this can be solved in the future with scientific technological developments constantly being discovered. GM crops could just be the solution to starvation.

    Asiya Alin
    Harris Academy St John’s Wood

    “I am in year 11 at Harris Academy St John’s Wood and I aspire to become a Graphic Designer. However, there are many subjects that interest me at the moment, such as Biology; the reason for this is that I am fascinated by how the human body functions.”