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Scientists have modified feed corn genetically, increasing its resista

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Re: Scientists have modified feed corn genetically, increasing its resista  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Oct 2017, 17:28
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ykaiim wrote:
Scientists have modified feed corn genetically, increasing its resistance to insect pests. Farmers who tried out the genetically modified corn last season applied less insecticide to their corn fields and still got yields comparable to those they would have gotten with ordinary corn. Ordinary corn seed, however, costs less, and what these farmers saved on insecticide rarely exceeded their extra costs for seed. Therefore, for most feed-corn farmers, switching to genetically modified seed would be unlikely to increase profits.

Which of the following would it be most useful to know in order to evaluate the argument?

(A) Whether there are insect pests that sometimes reduce feed-corn yields, but against which commonly used insecticides and the genetic modification are equally ineffective

(B) Whether the price that farmers receive for feed corn has remained steady over the past few years

(C) Whether the insecticides typically used on feed corn tend to be more expensive than insecticides typically used on other crops

(D) Whether most of the farmers who tried the genetically modified corn last season applied more insecticide than was actually necessary

(E) Whether, for most farmers who plant feed corn, it is their most profitable crop


Modified Feed Corn

Step 1: Identify the Question

The wording useful to know in order to evaluate in the question stem indicates that this is an Evaluate the Argument question.

Step 2: Deconstruct the Argument

Note: this argument uses the term “feed corn” interchangeably with the word “corn.” Both terms refer to corn that is grown specifically to feed to animals, not humans. Throughout the argument, there are two types of this corn mentioned: ordinary feed corn (OC) and genetically modified feed corn (GMC).

GMC: pest resist; use less insecticide, = yields OC

OC costs less

Savings on I for GMC not more than > costs for GMC

SO: switch to GMC not likely to > prof

The author concludes that switching from OC to GMC is unlikely to increase profits, since a group of farmers who tried switching found that the costs associated with growing GMC frequently exceeded the savings accrued from reduced use of insecticide. This conclusion assumes that there are no additional savings that could be accrued by using GMC, allowing these farmers to increase profits. It also assumes that there are no opportunities for farmers to sell GMC for a higher price, thereby increasing profits. Is that the case?

Step 3: Pause and State the Goal

On Evaluate questions, the answers will be in the form of a question or a “whether x is true” statement. The correct answer will address an issue on which the argument hinges, depending on whether that statement is true: one way, the argument will be strengthened; the other way, the argument will be weakened.

Step 4: Work from Wrong to Right

(A) This choice is confusing. Re-worded, it says “Whether there are some corn pests that can’t be stopped by either regular insecticides or the GMC.” If there are, then both the regular corn and the GMC would be equally affected. If there aren’t, then both types of corn would still be equally affected. This choice does not affect the conclusion, since it does not address the possibility that farmers could increase profits by switching to GMC.

(B) This choice references feed corn in general; it does not make a distinction between GMC and OC. If all prices have remained steady, the argument is not affected. If all prices have fluctuated, the argument is not affected, since any impact on GMC profits would also apply to OC profits.

(C) This choice references feed corn in general; it does not make a distinction between GMC and OC. The price of insecticide for corn vs. the price for other crops is not at issue in the argument.

(D) CORRECT. If the farmers did apply more insecticide than needed, they could reduce the amount of insecticide even more next season. This further reduction could allow them to save enough money to increase profits, so this opportunity weakens the conclusion. If, on the other hand, farmers applied just as much insecticide as needed, then they would have to do the same next season. This necessity would support the argument’s conclusion that the farmers are unlikely to increase profits by growing GMC.

(E) This choice references feed corn in general; it does not make a distinction between GMC and OC. Whether corn in general is more profitable than other crops is not at issue in the argument.
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Re: Scientists have modified feed corn genetically, increasing its resista  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Mar 2018, 23:07
Dear experts,

Based on my analysis, choice C is quite compelling.

Our conclusion first of all as always: Therefore, for most feed-corn farmers, switching to genetically modified seed would be unlikely to increase profits.

CASE 1: Where the price of insecticides is higher among 'feed corn' than among 'ordinary corn'. In such a case the overall costs (i.e Quantity of insecticide x cost ) would be significantly higher for feed corn than for ordinary corn resulting in a loss of savings. Now this loss would not exceed the extra costs of switching feed corn. So our conclusion is strengthened.
CASE 2: Where the price of insecticides is higher among 'ordinary' corn than among 'feed corn'. Now in this case the overall costs would significantly lower for 'feed corn' than for 'ordinary corn' resulting in significant savings. Now the savings could be significant enough to exceed the extra costs of switching to feed corn. So it is possible that the conclusion may be weakened.

We could use a variety of numbers to test this. I used some numbers of my scratch paper to test it out and it worked as per the analysis above.

My point is that I'm uncertain as to why choice C does not qualify as a valid point for evaluating the argument. Is it because the choice compares feed corn with other types of crops( instead of ordinary corn) or is there something wrong with my analysis ?

(C) Whether the insecticides typically used on feed corn tend to be more expensive than insecticides typically used on other crops

Please do guide me with analysis for choices C and D
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Re: Scientists have modified feed corn genetically, increasing its resista  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Mar 2018, 19:45
RanjanSury wrote:
Dear experts,

Based on my analysis, choice C is quite compelling.

Our conclusion first of all as always: Therefore, for most feed-corn farmers, switching to genetically modified seed would be unlikely to increase profits.

CASE 1: Where the price of insecticides is higher among 'feed corn' than among 'ordinary corn'. In such a case the overall costs (i.e Quantity of insecticide x cost ) would be significantly higher for feed corn than for ordinary corn resulting in a loss of savings. Now this loss would not exceed the extra costs of switching feed corn. So our conclusion is strengthened.
CASE 2: Where the price of insecticides is higher among 'ordinary' corn than among 'feed corn'. Now in this case the overall costs would significantly lower for 'feed corn' than for 'ordinary corn' resulting in significant savings. Now the savings could be significant enough to exceed the extra costs of switching to feed corn. So it is possible that the conclusion may be weakened.

We could use a variety of numbers to test this. I used some numbers of my scratch paper to test it out and it worked as per the analysis above.

My point is that I'm uncertain as to why choice C does not qualify as a valid point for evaluating the argument. Is it because the choice compares feed corn with other types of crops( instead of ordinary corn) or is there something wrong with my analysis ?

(C) Whether the insecticides typically used on feed corn tend to be more expensive than insecticides typically used on other crops

Please do guide me with analysis for choices C and D

Quote:
Scientists have modified feed corn genetically, increasing its resistance to insect pests. Farmers who tried out the genetically modified corn last season applied less insecticide to their corn fields and still got yields comparable to those they would have gotten with ordinary corn. Ordinary corn seed, however, costs less, and what these farmers saved on insecticide rarely exceeded their extra costs for seed. Therefore, for most feed-corn farmers, switching to genetically modified seed would be unlikely to increase profits.

Which of the following would it be most useful to know in order to evaluate the argument?

(A) Whether there are insect pests that sometimes reduce feed-corn yields, but against which commonly used insecticides and the genetic modification are equally ineffective

(B) Whether the price that farmers receive for feed corn has remained steady over the past few years

(C) Whether the insecticides typically used on feed corn tend to be more expensive than insecticides typically used on other crops

(D) Whether most of the farmers who tried the genetically modified corn last season applied more insecticide than was actually necessary

(E) Whether, for most farmers who plant feed corn, it is their most profitable crop

RanjanSury, I think you've correctly identified the problem with (C):

RanjanSury wrote:
My point is that I'm uncertain as to why choice C does not qualify as a valid point for evaluating the argument. Is it because the choice compares feed corn with other types of crops( instead of ordinary corn) or is there something wrong with my analysis ?

If choice (C) were, "Whether the insecticides typically used on ordinary feed corn tend to be more expensive than insecticides typically used on genetically modified feed corn," then it might have some bearing on the argument.

Regardless, we are already told that "what these farmers saved on insecticide rarely exceeded their extra costs for seed". If the farmers applied the correct amount of insecticide, then who cares how much the insecticide actually cost? Even if the insecticide for genetically modified corn is cheaper, the savings in insecticide costs do not make up for the additional costs of the genetically modified seed.

However, we would absolutely want to know whether the farmers were applying more insecticide than was actually necessary. If so, they might be able to further reduce their insecticide costs. That would directly affect the evidence cited in the passage, so (D) is the best answer.
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Re: Scientists have modified feed corn genetically, increasing its resista  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Mar 2018, 07:07
I still don't understand why D is correct? The passage says they have already used less insecticide on the GMO corn
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Re: Scientists have modified feed corn genetically, increasing its resista  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Mar 2018, 19:54
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bpdulog wrote:
I still don't understand why D is correct? The passage says they have already used less insecticide on the GMO corn

Let's say that most farmers who tried the GM corn applied more insecticide than was actually necessary. In that case, they could theoretically save even MORE money on insecticide by using less of it next time. In other words, they spent more money than was needed on insecticide.

The author says, "The farmers saved X dollars on insecticide, but they had to spend an extra X dollars (approximately) for the GM seed. So overall they did not save any money." But maybe farmers used, for example, twice as much insecticide as was actually necessary. In that case, using the GM seeds with the CORRECT amount of insecticide would actually save the farmers money.

So we would absolutely want to answer the question in option (D) in order to evaluate the author's argument. I hope that helps!
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Re: Scientists have modified feed corn genetically, increasing its resista  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Apr 2018, 07:21
solitaryreaper wrote:
VeritasPrepKarishma wrote:
MarketingGuru wrote:
Hi Meghna,


Please help me by resolving the conflict in my assumption in this question-

Profit depends on cost and selling price. Here the author is saying that the switching would unlikely increase profit. Hence the assumption could be that the selling price of both genetically modified feed corn and ordinary corn is same. Hence the answer can be (B).

However, I don't challenge GMAT :). But I am not able to establish linkages between premises to come up with an assumption to arrive at (D) in e-gmat way. Because the premise clearly says that savings in using less insecticide cannnot offset the cost of seed. So even if we use even less insecticide its not going to make too much difference. Plus how can we challenge/change premise.

Can you please guide.

Thanks,
Pritisha


For (B) vs (D), check this link: http://gmatclub.com/forum/scientists-ha ... l#p1382766

Ask if anything remains unclear.



Hi Karishma,
If option B was something like:
Whether the price that farmers receive for feed corn would fluctuate in future.

Will it be a contender then?

Regards,
SR




VeritasPrepKarishma

iin the post below,it is assumed that "selling price for both the type of corn is same".why we need to assume that selling price is same for both
the argument is talking about profit
here is my 2 scents. please review
profit=price-cost
plan A:GM CORN
plan B:NORMAL CORN
CONCLUSION:WHICH PLAN WILL LEAD TO MORE PROFIT
SO WE NEED INFORMATION ABOUT PRICE AND COST
1)IF AN OPTION SAY GENETICALLY MODIFIED CORNS ARE HIGHER IN QUALITY AND HENCE HIGH PRICE.THEN PROFIT WILL INCREASE
2)IF ANY ANSWER CHOICE SAY THERE ARE WAYS TO REDUCE TOTAL COST IN PLAN B,IT WILL HELP TO EVALUATE THE ARGUMENT
AS COST=COST OF INSECTICIDE+COST OF SEED
COST OF GM modified seed> cost of normal seed
so focus is on insecticide
say:amount of insecticide can be reduced further then last year or say GM corn needs cheaper insecticide,then plan B will lead to more profit
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Re: Scientists have modified feed corn genetically, increasing its resista  [#permalink]

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New post 12 Apr 2018, 05:14
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JAIN09 wrote:
VeritasPrepKarishma

iin the post below,it is assumed that "selling price for both the type of corn is same".why we need to assume that selling price is same for both
the argument is talking about profit
here is my 2 scents. please review
profit=price-cost
plan A:GM CORN
plan B:NORMAL CORN
CONCLUSION:WHICH PLAN WILL LEAD TO MORE PROFIT
SO WE NEED INFORMATION ABOUT PRICE AND COST
1)IF AN OPTION SAY GENETICALLY MODIFIED CORNS ARE HIGHER IN QUALITY AND HENCE HIGH PRICE.THEN PROFIT WILL INCREASE
2)IF ANY ANSWER CHOICE SAY THERE ARE WAYS TO REDUCE TOTAL COST IN PLAN B,IT WILL HELP TO EVALUATE THE ARGUMENT
AS COST=COST OF INSECTICIDE+COST OF SEED
COST OF GM modified seed> cost of normal seed
so focus is on insecticide
say:amount of insecticide can be reduced further then last year or say GM corn needs cheaper insecticide,then plan B will lead to more profit


The argument does not talk about the retail price changing according to the seeds used. So we assume that it stays the same while evaluating our options. If some option tells us that using GM seeds, we can command a higher price for the crop, it is certainly something we should evaluate with reference to the profit. Since the options do not mention it, we do not need to worry about it.
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Re: Scientists have modified feed corn genetically, increasing its resista  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Jul 2018, 04:06
Skywalker18 GMATninja2 gmatexam439
Can you please explain why A is wrong
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Re: Scientists have modified feed corn genetically, increasing its resista  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Jul 2018, 10:12
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Hi teaserbae,

Scientists have modified feed corn genetically, increasing its resistance to insect pests. Farmers who tried out the genetically modified corn last season applied less insecticide to their corn fields and still got yields comparable to those they would have gotten with ordinary corn. Ordinary corn seed, however, costs less, and what these farmers saved on insecticide rarely exceeded their extra costs for seed. Therefore, for most feed-corn farmers, switching to genetically modified seed would be unlikely to increase profits. --> Highlighted part is the conclusion

Quote:
Which of the following would it be most useful to know in order to evaluate the argument?

(A) Whether there are insect pests that sometimes reduce feed-corn yields, but against which commonly used insecticides and the genetic modification are equally ineffective

The conclusion is related to profit. We need something to evaluate that part. This choice doesn't impact the profit at all.
A "yes" to the option will mean that there are insects that equally impact modified and normal corns. Thus, as per the premise conclusion still holds.
A "no" to the option will mean that there are insects against which both modified and normal corns are equally effective. Thus, as per the premise conclusion still holds.
In either case the conclusion still holds. Thus, A is wrong.

Hope that helps!
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Re: Scientists have modified feed corn genetically, increasing its resista &nbs [#permalink] 24 Jul 2018, 10:12

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