AP Environmental Science Mr. Grant Lesson 62 Pests and Pollinators & Genetically Modified Food © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. Objectives: • Define the term seed banks. • Discuss the importance of pollination. • Describe the science behind genetically modified food. • Evaluate the debate over genetically modified food. • TED - The varieties of wheat, corn and rice we grow today may not thrive in a future threatened by climate change. Cary Fowler takes us inside a vast global seed bank, buried within a frozen mountain in Norway, that stores a diverse group of food-crop for whatever tomorrow may bring. © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. Define the term seed banks. Seed Bank: Place where seeds are stored for short-term use in farming or for long-term preservation. © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. Discuss the importance of pollination. • Insects and other organisms are essential for the reproduction of many crop plants. • Conservation of pollinating insects is vitally important to our food security. © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. We depend on insects to pollinate crops • Not all insects are pests; some are absolutely vital - 800 crop species rely on insect pollinators • Pollination = male plant sex cells fertilize female sex cells - By wind or animals • Pollinators include: - Hummingbirds - Bats - Insects (bees, wasps, etc.) Flowers are evolutionary adaptations to attract pollinators © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. Conservation of pollinators is vital Bees pollinate over 100 crops and contribute $15 billion in services/year • Populations of pollinators (e.g., bees) have plummeted • Colony collapse disorder = entire beehives have vanished - Unknown causes—Insecticides? Parasites? Stress? • Reducing or eliminating pesticide use and planting flowering plants will help preserve bees © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. Describe the science behind genetically modified food. • Genetic modification uses recombinant DNA technology to move genes for desirable traits from one type of organism to another. • Genetic engineering is both like and unlike traditional selective breeding. • GM crops may have ecological impacts, including the spread of transgenes, an increase in chemical pollution, and indirect impacts on biodiversity. © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. Genetically modified organisms • Genetic engineering = laboratory manipulation of genetic material - Add, delete, modify DNA • Genetically modified (GM) organisms = organisms that have been genetically engineered by … • Recombinant DNA = DNA created from multiple organisms © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. Biotechnology is impacting our lives • Biotechnology = the application of biological science to create products derived from organisms • Transgenic organism = an organism that contains DNA from another species - Transgenes = the genes that have moved between organisms • Biotechnology has created medicines, cleaned up pollution, and dissolved blood clots © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. Some genetically modified foods © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. Genetic engineering versus agricultural breeding • Traditional breeding = changes organisms through selective breeding of the same or similar species - Works with organisms in the field - Genes come together on their own - Uses the process of selection • Genetic engineering = mixes genes of different species - Works with genetic material in the lab - Directly creates novel combinations of genes - Resembles the process of mutation © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. Biotechnology is changing our world • GM foods are a big business • Most GM crops are herbicide and pesticide resistant - Large-scale farmers grow crops more efficiently - Most U.S. corn, soybeans, cotton, and canola are genetically modified Globally, 14 million farmers grew GM foods on 134 million ha © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. What are the impacts of GM crops? • As GM crops expanded, scientists, citizens, and policymakers became concerned - Impacts on human health • Concerns over escaping transgenes - They could harm nontarget organisms - Pests could evolve resistance - They could ruin the integrity of native ancestral races and interbreed with closely related wild plants © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. Genetic engineering has benefits and risks • Environmental benefits of genetic engineering: - Reduced use of chemical insecticides - Increased no-till farming - Decreased irrigation, deforestation, land conversion • Negatives of genetic engineering: - Increased herbicide use affects health and habitats - Some GM fields support less biodiversity • Precautionary principle = don’t undertake a new action until the effects of that action are understood © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. Evaluate the debate over genetically modified food. • Many people have ethical qualms about altering food through genetic engineering. • Opponents of GM foods view multinational biotechnology corporations as a threat to the independence of small farmers. • Nations have adopted differing stances on GM foods. © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. The GM debate involves ethics • People don’t like “tinkering” with the food supply • With increasing use, people are forced to use GM products, or go to special effort to avoid them • Multinational corporations threaten the small farmer • Research is funded by corporations that profit if GM foods are approved for use • GM crops have not eradicated hunger - GM crops do not focus on increased nutrition, drought tolerance, etc. The GM industry is driven by market considerations driven by financial interests of corporations © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. GMO producers are suing farmers Corporations go to great lengths to protect their GM investments • Monsanto has launched 112 lawsuits against 372 farmers, winning an average $385,000 per case - Monsanto sued Percy Schmeiser of Canada for using its GM seeds without paying for them - Schmeiser said the seeds blew onto his field from adjacent fields - The courts sided with Monsanto, saying that Schmeiser had violated Monsanto’s patent © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. The future of GM foods • Europeans demand that GM foods are labeled • U.S. consumers have mostly accepted GM crops - They don’t realize most food contains GM products • The U.S. sued the European Union before the World Trade Organization for hindering free trade • The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety lays out guidelines for open information about exported crops - The U.S. has not joined • Brazil, India, and China approve GM crops © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. TED Video Biodiversity warrior Cary Fowler wants to save the world from agricultural collapse, one seed at a time. "For individual crop varieties, doomsday does come every day. We want to put an end to that." Cary Fowler: One seed at a time, protecting the future of food (17:06) © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.