Genetic engineering is changing the way we produce food by allowing a rapid increase in crop yields, as well as the prevention of droughts and natural disasters. GMOs are reducing the amount of pesticides that must be sprayed and, at the same time, increasing crop yields. This chapter provides a brief description of the genetic modification methods used to develop new strains of plants, animals, and microbes for use as human food. The next chapter (Chapter) presents a detailed analysis of the likelihood that these methods will cause unintentional changes in composition.
Genetically engineered crops are the only ones that have been formally reviewed to assess the potential for transferring new traits to wild relatives. When new traits are genetically modified in a crop, new plants are evaluated to ensure that they do not have the characteristics of weeds. When biotech crops are grown close to related plants, the possibility of the two plants exchanging characteristics through pollen should be evaluated before their release. Crop plants of all types can exchange traits with their close wild relatives (which can be weeds or wildflowers) when they are nearby.
In the case of biotechnology-derived crops, the EPA and the USDA carry out risk assessments to assess this possibility and minimize possible harmful consequences, if any. Genetic modification is a technology that involves inserting DNA into the genome of an organism. To produce a transgenic plant, new DNA is transferred to the cells of the plant. Usually, the cells are then cultured in tissue culture, where they are converted into plants.
The seeds produced by these plants will inherit the new DNA. Assisted reproductive technologies and recombinant hormones are discussed in detail in the attached subreport, Methods and Mechanisms of Genetic Manipulation and Animal Cloning. In terms of improving weed control, herbicide-tolerant soybeans, cotton and corn allow for the use of reduced-risk herbicides that break down more quickly in the soil and are not toxic to wildlife or humans. National Research Council (EE) Committee.
USA) on the identification and evaluation of the unwanted effects of genetically modified foods on human health. Given the number and combinations of desirable traits in starter culture organisms, producers have continued to be interested in developing better starter cultures, essentially using two different approaches. The regulators of the time did not require molecular analyses of these new varieties, nor did the developers perform them to determine the nature of the underlying genetic changes that drove the characteristics of the variants. The Federal Government developed a coordinated framework for the regulation of biotechnology in 1986 to provide for regulatory oversight of organisms derived from genetic engineering.
Closely related species, such as cultivated oats (Avena sativa) and their relative weed, wild oats (Avena fatua), can be cross-pollinated to exchange genetic information, although this is not usually the case. Since then, the case-by-case approach to risk assessment of genetically modified products has been widely accepted; however, the U. In other words, a genetically heterogeneous plant population is inspected and “superior individuals” plants with the most desired characteristics, such as better palatability and yield, are selected to continue propagation. Sequencing animal genomes that are important to agriculture will identify genes that influence reproductive efficiency.
Biotechnology crops can provide improved quality characteristics, such as increasing beta-carotene levels in rice to help reduce vitamin A deficiencies and better oil composition in rapeseed, soybeans and corn. For example, they could add a disease resistance gene from one plant to another that is high-performing but susceptible to diseases, without neglecting any undesirable genetic traits of the disease-resistant plant, such as low fertility and seed yield, susceptibility to insects or other diseases, or the production of anti-nutritional metabolites. For example, genetically modified, insect-resistant cotton has significantly reduced the use of persistent synthetic pesticides that can contaminate groundwater and the environment. Therefore, when a new transgene is introduced into a wild fish population, it spreads and can ultimately threaten the viability of both wild-type and genetically modified organisms.