Gene food

Topics: Genetically modified food, DNA, Genetic engineering Pages: 2 (404 words) Published: September 21, 2014
Genetically-modified foods (GM foods) have made a big splash in the news lately. Euro- pean environmental organizations and public interest groups have been actively protest- ing against GM foods for months, and recent controversial studies about the effects of genetically-modified corn pollen on monarch butterfly caterpillars1,2 have brought the issue of genetic engineering to the forefront of the public consciousness in the U.S. In response to the up swelling of public concern, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) held three open meetings in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Oakland, California to solicit public opinions and begin the process of establishing a new regulatory proce- dure for government approval of GM foods.3 I attended the FDA meeting held in Novem- ber 1999 in Washington, D.C., and here I will attempt to summarize the issues involved and explain the U.S. government's present role in regulating GM food. The term GM foods or GMOs (genetically-modified organisms) is most commonly used to refer to crop plants created for human or animal consumption using the latest molecu- lar biology techniques. These plants have been modified in the laboratory to enhance de- sired traits such as increased resistance to herbicides or improved nutritional content. The enhancement of desired traits has traditionally been undertaken through breeding, but conventional plant breeding methods can be very time consuming and are often not very accurate. Genetic engineering, on the other hand, can create plants with the exact desired trait very rapidly and with great accuracy. For example, plant geneticists can isolate a gene responsible for drought tolerance and insert that gene into a different plant. The new genetically-modified plant will gain drought tolerance as well. Not only can genes be transferred from one plant to another, but genes from non-plant organisms also can be used. The best known example of this is the use of B.t. genes in corn and other crops....
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