Several tons of crops are lost to disease and insects each year. While pesticides and germicides are effective to an extent, they have numerous side effects that harm the consumers and also damage the ecosystem, sometimes resulting in reduced crop yield. Genetically modified (GM) crops have proven to be an excellent way to combat the growing crop failures rampant across the globe.
GM crops are crops which have been genetically modified to be resistant to various kinds of diseases and insects. It is done by splicing the genes from other varieties into the desired crop. The resulting genetically modified crop is resistant and could even be immune from harm.
Recent advancements in genetic engineering techniques have allowed agricultural scientists to produce a wide range of modified crops that have proven to have a high degree of resilience to commonly occurring diseases. The Cavendish variety of banana, accounting for nearly half of all the bananas grown across the globe, is especially vulnerable to a particular strain of fungus that can wipe out large quantities of produce. It can be modified to be resilient to the fungus by splicing a gene from a different variety into its genome. Other examples of GM crops include sugarcane that can resist drought and apples that have an extended shelf life.
As the global population increases, modified crops are increasingly being touted to be the best way to maintain cultivation at sustainable levels.