The reasons for moving beyond traditional plant breeding to genetic modification in plant breeding are many:
The first wave of commercialized GM seeds was developed to help farmers improve their ability to control weeds and reduce crop damage from diseases, insects and drought―i.e., for agronomic improvements. These helped reduce the impact of agriculture on their local environment and reduce their costs.
Soon after and continuing today, there has been a greater emphasis on traits that include improved nutrition:
- Vitamin A enrichment in rice: Vitamin A deficiency is a leading cause of blindness in the developing world and is particularly prevalent among children there.
- Improving iron bioavailability in beans: Two billion people in the world suffer from iron deficiency, which impairs mental and physical development, increases susceptibility to infections and is responsible for 20 percent of all maternal deaths after childbirth.
- Essential amino acids: Virtually all plant foods, including the major staple crops used in food and animal feed around the world, are poor sources of at least one of the essential amino acids that humans, poultry and livestock must consume. Researchers in India successfully increased the amount of three essential amino acids in potatos, the most important noncereal staple crop throughout the world.
- Fats and oils: While many people in developing countries have difficulty getting access to enough nutritious food, the dietary problems for people in the industrialized world often stem from making poor choices. For example, even though fats and oils are an essential part of a healthy diet, they contain many calories, and while some types are good for your heart, e.g., unsaturated fats, others are linked to heart disease. Many people in industrialized countries consume both too much fat and too much oil, which can lead to obesity, and the wrong types, such as the saturated fatty acids associated with cardiovascular problems that can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Plant biotechnology has been used to optimize the fatty-acid profile of oilseed crops, such as soybean, corn and canola, to promote human health.
Figuring out how to feed more people with the same land resources while protecting the environment is a global reality. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization predicts that by 2050 we will need to increase food production by 100 percent to have enough to feed the world.
Although issues like food waste, distribution and politics play an important role in food deficiencies in the developing world, the truth is that our planet’s population is increasing and our farmland is shrinking. We will need all types of farming to meet global food demand. As pressure on agriculture production and land resources increases, biotech seeds can be a critical tool in feeding the world while improving environmental sustainability. Biotech seeds can contribute to a reduction in the amount of land, water and chemicals needed to produce more food.
I'd be remiss if I didn’t mention this one. Our companies also need to make a profit from the sale of seeds to farmers to support their R&D and reward their shareholders for investing in them. As a result, our companies are able to promote innovation and provide good jobs to their employees, who in turn support their communities' economies.
With regard to your assertion about chemicals, virtually all plants make their own chemicals to help protect them from disease and pest damage. Some varieties of GM plants have been developed to have protection against certain destructive insects that feed on the plants. The insect-resistant GMOs on the market today protect themselves by producing proteins that cause insects to die if they eat plant. By design, the proteins have this effect on only a few types of insects that ingest them and are harmless to most other insects and other living beings, including mammals and humans. It's important to note that the proteins in the current insect-resistant GM crops occur naturally in a bacterium called Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt, that is found in soils all over the world. The same proteins are found in sprayable, Bt-based insecticides widely used in organic crop production. As such, humans have been exposed to these proteins for many years before the development of GM plants. GM crops that produce the Bt protein have provided effective, area-wide control of target insect pests while saving farmers money by decreasing the total amount of insecticides used against those pests.
- Brookes and Barfoot, "Key environmental impacts of global GM crop use 1996-2011," in GM Crops and Food, 4/26/2013).
- "Bt Corn & European Corn Borer: Long-Term Success Through Resistance Management," University of Minnesota Extension.
By the way, I didn’t know anything about 5D earth/transcendental evolution until I read your question today. I did some research. It's a very peaceful philosophy.