Genetically Modified Foods Research

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In twenty-five different countries worldwide, approximately fourteen million farmers grow genetically modified crops Enrichment 1 Enrichment 2(Aldridge 5). Genetically engineered or modified crops, also known as GM crops or plants, are those that are modified by inserting genetic material in order to demonstrate a desired trait (Hauter 3). Genetic engineering of plants and animals takes place in order to improve the quality and quantity of food supply to consumers; however, researchers are unaware of any definite long term effects of genetically engineered food on animals, humans, and the environment at this time (Hoyle 1: Shah 6). Some researchers question whether genetically modified foods benefit or harm consumers, due to most of the testing …show more content…
A few examples of disease and pest resistant crops include cotton, corn, canola, and soybeans (Hauter 3). Genetic engineering techniques were invented at Stanford University in the early 1970’s (Aldridge 2). In the early 1990’s a Californian company, Calgene, developed the first commercially grown genetically modified plant. It was the Flavr Savr tomato. The new tomato was modified to take a longer time to soften and decompose after being taken off the vine. This allowed the tomatoes to be left on the vine longer after already being ripe; allotting more time for the farmers to pick them (Aldridge …show more content…
A transgene is a gene that is transferred into a host crop plant in the process of genetic engineering (Aldridge 2). One of the main methods used to introduce a transgene into a crop is by using the soil bacterium Agrobacterium tumefaciens. The soil bacterium “naturally infects plants, as a vector to carry the gene into plant cells.” The second main method for introducing a transgene into a plant is by using a gene gun to shoot DNA coated particles of the transgene into the cells of the crop plant (Aldridge 5). A gene gun is “a device that shoots tungsten or gold particles coated with DNA particles into plant cell tissue in genetic engineering experiments” (Aldridge 2). The cells that take over the transgene are identified by the presence of an antibiotic resistance marker gene. Then, the transformed cells are grown into genetically modified plants under controlled conditions. The crop plants that result from using a gene gun are tested for their characteristics, worked on, and monitored in small outdoor field trials before moving to a larger cultivation Enrichment 5 (Aldridge 5). Knowledge of DNA structure and the development of molecular biology has made it possible for scientists to accurately insert and remove specific genes in or out of the DNA of certain organisms, enabling the ability to better understand the genes that are in charge of

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