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Scientists have made genetic modifications to cotton to

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Scientists have made genetic modifications to cotton to [#permalink]

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New post 07 Nov 2008, 21:27
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Scientists have made genetic modifications to cotton to increase its resistance to insect
pests. According to farmers’ reports, the amount of insecticide needed per acre to control
insect pests was only slightly lower for those who tried the modified seed than for those
who did not. Therefore, since the modified seed costs more than ordinary seed without
producing yields of higher market value, switching to the modified seed would be
unlikely to benefit most cotton farmers economically.
Which of the following would it be most useful to know in order to evaluate the argument?

A. Whether farmers who tried the modified cotton seed had ever tried growing other
crops from genetically modified seed
B. Whether the insecticides typically used on ordinary cotton tend to be more
expensive than insecticides typically used on other crops
C. Whether for most farmers who grow cotton it is their primary crop
D. Whether the farmers who have tried the modified seed planted as many acres of
cotton, on average, as farmers using the ordinary seed did
E. Whether most of the farmers who tried the modified seed did so because they had


pls explain
previously had to use exceptionally large quantities of insecticide

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Re: cr .. got stumped [#permalink]

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New post 07 Nov 2008, 21:45
This is a confusing one. Short list to D and E.
I'll pick E, because of statement "the amount of insecticide needed per acre to control
insect pests.." I guess it means that those farmers are still trying to kill the insects even though they have insect resistant crops.

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Re: cr .. got stumped [#permalink]

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New post 07 Nov 2008, 23:25
D

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Re: cr .. got stumped [#permalink]

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New post 08 Nov 2008, 00:15
I'm going to say E. We don't care about other crops so A-C are out. I ruled out D because total acreage is irrelevant; the measure we're given is insecticide per acre. I'm not crazy about E as an answer but if farmers are switching to the new seed because their insecticide use was significant, then even with a slight reduction in insecticide requirements they might benefit (casting doubt on the argument).

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Re: cr .. got stumped [#permalink]

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New post 08 Nov 2008, 00:30
The answer should be E. Any question that asks which answer choice would "help evaluate" the argument is asking for information that can strengthen or weaken the argument. Before strengthening or weakening an argument, we must analyze it, which means identifying the conclusion and the evidence.

The conclusion is that using the modified seed instead of normal seed is unlikely to produce an economic benefit for a farmer. There are three pieces of evidence: (1) It costs more than unmodified seeds. (2) It does not produce crops of greater value. (3) The farmers who tried the modified seed used only slightly less insecticide than the farmers who didn't. A correct answer has to strengthen or weaken the connection between at least one of these pieces of evidence and the conclusion.

Choice A: Irrelevant. Whether these farmers ever tried other modified seed affects neither the cost of this seed, nor the amount of insecticide that they used.

Choice B: Irrelevant. The conclusion is about the economic benefit of using this seed instead of normal COTTON seed. The cost of other modified seeds does not affect it.

Choice C: Irrelevant. The conclusion is about the economics of one kind of cotton seed vs. another. What else the farmer makes money from, and how much of his total income arises from those other crops, has nothing to do with it.

Choice D: Irrelevant. The conclusion is that a farmer would not benefit from changing to the modified seed, not from planting more or fewer acres. The first two pieces of evidence are both unaffected by the number of acres planted; both the price of a type of seed and the crop yield are, in effect, "per acre" measurements. The third piece of evidence is clearly described in the paragraph as the amount of insecticide PER ACRE, so once again, the number of acres is irrelevant.

Choice E: Weakens the argument. If E is true, then the farmers who tried the modified seed actually DID reduce their consumption of insecticide significantly. The reason why (in the evidence) they seemed NOT to have done so was because the evidence compared them to a group whose previous consumption of insecticide had been roughly normal. In this way, Choice E breaks the connection between the third piece of evidence and the conclusion.
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Re: cr .. got stumped [#permalink]

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New post 08 Nov 2008, 02:06
I dont know whether it is true, but this site says that the OA is B :shocked

http://www.scorechase.com/gmat/showthre ... #post54566

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Re: cr .. got stumped [#permalink]

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New post 08 Nov 2008, 11:48
Sorry, I must correct part of my explanation: B is irrelevant because the relative cost of insecticide for OTHER crops is irrelevant. The conclusion is about the difference or non-difference between the economics of two kinds of COTTON seed.

I can't accept B as the correct OA. It doesn't make sense, for the reason given above. Nobody else in this thread chose it either.
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Re: cr .. got stumped [#permalink]

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New post 08 Nov 2008, 17:00
(B) is CORRECT.

If the pesticide for cotton is so expensive that even minor change is quantitt is goond enough to reduce cost significantly then it makes sense.
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Re: cr .. got stumped [#permalink]

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New post 08 Nov 2008, 18:13
Initially I wrote off B. But after looking at the conclusion, I did pick B

The conclusion is switching to new modified seed would be unlikely to benefit most cotton farmers economically.

In E, large Quantities does not necessarily mean that they are expensive. How ever, B says cotton pesticides are super expensive when compare to other crops. A small drop in cost per acre might go a long way in saving a lot of money for x acres. The Q could have been written better.

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Re: cr .. got stumped [#permalink]

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New post 08 Nov 2008, 18:59
Another forum gives the OA as E:

http://www.urch.com/forums/gmat-critica ... otton.html

I haven't been able to find the original source, so I can't absolutely confirm what the question writer intended. However, the correct answer is E.

Choice B says only that insecticides for "ordinary cotton" TEND to be "more expensive" than insecticides for other crops. Because it does not tell us how expensive those other insecticides are, and it does not tell us how MUCH "more" that "more expensive" is, we really know nothing about HOW expensive the insecticides for "ordinary cotton" are. If the cost of the other insecticides is mice nuts, then the cost of the insecticides for cotton could amount to a little bit more than mice nuts. This would not affect the conclusion about the economic value of switching to the modified seed.

Note also that choice B tells us only about insecticides for "ordinary cotton", which excludes insecticides that might be used with the modified cotton. That makes it even less useful for determining the economic value of the modified seed.

E, in contrast, necessarily leads to the conclusion that most of the farmers who tried the modified seed did manage to reduce their use of insecticide SIGNIFICANTLY. This could significantly change the conclusion about the seed's economic value.
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Re: cr .. got stumped [#permalink]

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New post 08 Nov 2008, 22:23
i agree with the phone-man..its gotta be E

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Re: cr .. got stumped [#permalink]

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New post 09 Nov 2008, 12:25
Another B. The conclusion is purely based on cost advantage "since the modified seed costs more than ordinary seed without producing yields of higher market value, switching to the modified seed would be unlikely to benefit most cotton farmers economically". Hence, whichever answer choice gives the cost advantage should be the most suitable answer. B does this.

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Re: cr .. got stumped [#permalink]

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New post 10 Nov 2008, 12:09
the OA is B ... i went for E as well.... but a closer look and by POE , B seems to be a better option.

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Re: cr .. got stumped [#permalink]

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New post 10 Nov 2008, 14:46
B it is.

When the insecticides used for cotton or more expensive than for the other crops, the minute difference that the modified seed makes could be good enough consideration.

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Re: cr .. got stumped [#permalink]

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New post 10 Nov 2008, 16:28
B doesn't make sense to me

Isn't the scope of the argument limited to just cotton growers?

How does the price of pesticides for other crops help evaluate the argument that
"switching to the modified seed would be unlikely to benefit most cotton farmers economically"

If I was growing cotton, and I'm debating between modified seeds and pesticides relating to cotton, why would I care how much the costs of pesticides are for chinese lettuce.

scthakur wrote:
Another B. The conclusion is purely based on cost advantage "since the modified seed costs more than ordinary seed without producing yields of higher market value, switching to the modified seed would be unlikely to benefit most cotton farmers economically". Hence, whichever answer choice gives the cost advantage should be the most suitable answer. B does this.

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Re: cr .. got stumped [#permalink]

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New post 10 Nov 2008, 17:07
bigfernhead expresses the point well: The "advantage" in the conclusion is the advantage of modified cotton seed vs. ordinary cotton seed. A cost advantage for any other crop vs. ordinary cotton is irrelevant.
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Re: cr .. got stumped [#permalink]

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New post 10 Nov 2008, 22:19
grumpyoldman wrote:
bigfernhead expresses the point well: The "advantage" in the conclusion is the advantage of modified cotton seed vs. ordinary cotton seed. A cost advantage for any other crop vs. ordinary cotton is irrelevant.


"Modified cotton seed" falls under the category of "other crops".

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Re: cr .. got stumped [#permalink]

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New post 11 Nov 2008, 11:22
No, it isn't an "other crop". The crop is still cotton. Note that someone who uses the modified seed is still explicitly described as a "cotton farmer" in the paragraph.
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Re: cr .. got stumped [#permalink]

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New post 11 Nov 2008, 11:39
I second bigfernhead and grumpy.
OA has to be E.
Other crops are not part of the argument and equaling modified cotton to other crops is overgeneralising

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Re: cr .. got stumped   [#permalink] 11 Nov 2008, 11:39
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