17 February 2024

Daily practice questions for CLAT - (17 February 2024)

The modification of crops is nothing new; plant breeders have been doing it since agriculture began. The wonderful range of apples or potatoes we now enjoy is the result of crossing different varieties. Cabbages, cauliflower and broccoli all originated from one botanical species. Modern molecular biology has given us the ability to go much further. We can now isolate the gene for a particular characteristic of an organism and transfer it to another species. It is this practice of transforming a plant with alien genes- perhaps from an animal or bacterium – that is causing all the controversy. There are three main concerns. Scientists can now take a gene for resistance to a particular herbicide and transfer it to crop: when these plants are sprayed with a weed killer, the weeds are destroyed while the crop is unharmed. One worry is the harmful effect this could have on the biodiversity of farmland, where so many insects, birds and other animals depend upon “weed” species. Another fear is that alien genes from a genetically modified (GM) pant could escape into a wild population of a related species. Since plants are fertilized by pollen which is carried through the air, often for great distances, this is entirely possible. A wild species modified in this way with pesticide resistance could become a “superweed”, while a species that becomes unnaturally resistant to animals that feed on it could disrupt the food chain. The third worry concerns a proposal to produce seeds for cereals that cannot germinate or produce next year’s seeds. This ‘terminator’ technology would be of obvious advantage to some companies since farms would be forced to buy new seeds annually. But it could be devastating to a farmer in the developing world who depends upon saving some seeds for next year’s crop.

Question1:- Who could be the major beneficiary of the ‘terminator technology’ as per the passage?
  • A. Farmers in developing countries.
  • B. Seed companies.
  • C. Purchasers of cereals.
  • D. Retailers of cereals.
Answer is B is correct. The last paragraph of the passage states that due to the terminator technology farmers have to buy seed every year from the market. So, it can be inferred that the seed companies would be at a direct benefit. Option (b) is the correct answer. Other options are not linked with the terminator technology. Hence, option (b) is correct.
Question2:- We can summarise from the passage that GM refers to-
  • A. The transference of a gene to another species thereby modifying the latter.
  • B. The creation of new varieties through hybridization.
  • C. Making disease-resistant plants.
  • D. developing better producing varieties
Answer is A is correct. The second paragraph defines GM as a technology to transfer the genes of one species to another. GM does not mean the creation of new varieties through hybridization. GM does not mean making disease-resistant plants. GM does not mean developing better producing varieties. Hence, option (a) is the correct answer.
Question3:- Why is the selective destruction of weeds a matter of worry?
  • A. It can affect the crop also.
  • B. It involves GM technology about which much is not known.
  • C. It could have undesirable and unknown effects.
  • D. It could negatively affect the bio-diversity of farmland.
Answer is D is correct. The selective destruction of weeds can lead to the generation of new weed more resistant weeds in the long term. This will affect the food chain ultimately and hence, will have a negative impact on bio-diversity. Refer to the last second para of the passage for better understanding. "A wild species modified in this way with pesticide resistance could become a “superweed”, while a species that becomes unnaturally resistant to animals that feed on it could disrupt the food chain." Hence, option (d) is the correct answer.
Question4:- The fear that an alien gene could escape into a wild population is supported by the possibility of -
  • A. Pollen being carried through great distances.
  • B. The emergence of superweed.
  • C. A disruption in the food chain.
  • D. The prevalence of animals that feed on superweed.
Answer is A is correct. The possibility of eruption of superweed is supported by the author's claims in the second last paragraph where he reveals that air pollination of weed resistant genes with wild species can produce superweeds. Hence, option (a) is the correct answer. Option (b) is the effect of this undesired pollination. While option (c) is the subsequent effect only. Option (d) is not related to the question. Prevalence is the proportion of a particular population found to be affected by a medical condition at a specific time and it is not supported by the passage. Hence, option (a) is the most appropriate answer.
Question5:- What can be inferred from the last line of the passage?
  • A. Farmers of only developing countries are in the habit of saving seeds for next year from current year stocks.
  • B. Farmers from developed countries can afford to buy new seeds every year.
  • C. Seed companies make a profit by genetically modified crops and their spread.
  • D. Developed countries differ from the developing countries in agricultural techniques.
Answer is A is correct. The last sentence is not comparing the agricultural techniques of the developed and the developing countries or the profit made by the seed companies. It gives information only about the farmers. Thus, options (b) and (d) can be rejected. The financial capacity of the farmers of developed nations cannot be inferred from this statement, it just reflects that farmers in the developing countries are in a habit of saving seeds for the next year’s crop and this habit is limited to only developing countries. Hence, option (a) is the correct answer.