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Perhaps the most serious concern about the transgenic crop plants currently in use is that they encourage farmers to move farther away from sustainable agricultural farming practices, meaning ones that allow natural resources to continually regenerate over the long run.

Which of the sentences below best expresses the essential information in the highlighted sentence in the passage?

  1. Transgenic crop plants may be used in place of other, more sustainable agricultural practices, and this is perhaps their biggest disadvantage.
  2. Perhaps the most serious concern about the transgenic crop plants currently in use is the possibility that they may not be sustainable over the long run

I think the first option is better. And the second option is inherently flawed because it says "transgenic crop plants are not sustainable"; however the original sentence is saying "natural resources to continually regenerate".

But the answer is the second one.

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This question comes close to requiring an opinion as an answer, but I believe it can be answered objectively.

Both options leave out the issue of human motivation as inessential. Therefore, an opinion on whether that issue is essential information is immaterial.

Both options leave out the definition of "sustainable" as inessential. Therefore, an opinion on whether that definition is essential information is immaterial.

Both options, by replacing "encourage" by "may," weaken the original's implication that certain transgenic crops will reduce long-term sustainability. That slight change in emphasis is shared by both options, and so cannot be a basis for discriminating between them.

There is one difference between the two options that is meaningful. The first option forecloses the possibility that future types of transgenic crop may be sustainable. The second option, by retaining the original's careful qualification of un-sustainability to transgenic crops "currently in use," objectively retains more of the meaning of the original than the first option.

So the second option objectively does better capture the meaning of the original although, in my opinion, neither does a very good job.

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