23-29 What Genetically Modified Soybeans Could Mean to Cambodia.

Poster Number 1315

See more from this Division: Students of Agronomy, Soils and Environmental Sciences (SASES)
See more from this Session: Symposium--Undergraduate Research Symposium Contest - Poster

Monday, November 4, 2013
Tampa Convention Center, East Exhibit Hall

Christina Joy Dittmer, Agronomy, Iowa State University, Lacona, IA
I am an agriculturalist. Up front, that is my bias. However, when I say that I am an agriculturalist, many people are led to believe something different than that means. I am a person that believes that agriculture is essential to the modern lifestyle that Americans are lucky enough to have, and I believe that other countries should not be denied these basic privileges when there are solutions to be had. This is what brought me to my topic.

Throughout my life, I have been taught about greats like Norman Borlaug, John Deere, and Warren Gammon who have developed and improved this country’s (as well as other countries’) food production for the better. Through this education, it always amazes me how we can have so much, and others can have so little. Since I only know about the food grown in America and why it is beneficial to us, I wanted to explore a controversial topic and how it could either benefit or degrade a developing country.

Genetic modification was what I landed upon. This is a significant topic, not just in the developing world, but all over. In Europe and in America, transgenic crops are under much fire, and there are many viewpoints on them. This is a topic that is important to be knowledgeable about, and to know multiple standpoints to better understand your own.

The sources listed below were compiled for a variety of reasons. My main goal was to approach this issue from different angles to pull in different viewpoints, and see which complemented or disproved others. This is not a simple yes or no type of topic, and it requires a deeper understanding of many factors involved. By no means am I now an expert, however I do now have multiple viewpoints on the situation, which is essential to addressing world issues.

These sources led me a variety of directions, but essentially shaped my thesis into the following: Cambodia, being a developing country, has much to gain from working with biotechnology such as genetically modified soybeans. However, this is no small task, and first requires extensive education, outreach programs, and testing checkpoints to ensure quality and safety of the crop produced.

Though I feel my sources support this thesis in a wide variety of ways, there is no source that is as specific as my thesis. Pieces were pulled from numerous places to build it, develop it, and explore it. Because I worked at it in this way, it has been simplified so that even those who know little to nothing about soybeans can understand and learn from the sources that I have also taken away from.

Crop production is now one of the most pressing issues the world is facing. As numerous scholars have been quoted saying, until the world is fed, there will be no peace, and it will continue to get more difficult to feed the world in the growing global population. Once a society can move beyond trying to feed themselves, they can move towards sciences, liberal arts, health care, and other important aspects to developed life. This exact thing has been repeated in history over and over again. In America, we overlook this essential link frequently, because we have developed it so expertly over long periods of time. It is important for developing countries to establish beneficial food production so that they can focus on other aspects of their lives. As they say, when you’re full, you have a thousand problems. When you’re hungry, you have one.

While sifting through numerous sources, I realized how complex situations overseas could be. Granted, certain situations in our own country can also be extremely complicated, but here we already have a handle on what is really going on. Overseas, we’re virtually blind. Yes, there are many problems out there that we can help with and that we should help with—in this topic’s sake, education—but it is a whole different world. It always surprises me how complicated issues are. They are never cut and dry, and in order to fully understand them, you would have to spend your life devoted to them. It is truly a humbling experience, diving headfirst into an issue you’re passionate about, only to realize you really don’t know much about it.

In conclusion, although biotechnology is in no way a cut and dry topic, it is important to be educated about, and it holds great potential to solving world hunger, especially when pursued in developing nations.

See more from this Division: Students of Agronomy, Soils and Environmental Sciences (SASES)
See more from this Session: Symposium--Undergraduate Research Symposium Contest - Poster