• Genetical engineering is a complex and a controversial issue.
• It involves the introduction of foreign DNA or synthetic genes into the organism of interest. The introduction of new DNA does not require the use of classical genetic methods, however traditional breeding methods are typically used for the propagation of recombinant organisms.
Process• First, the gen to be inserted into the genetically modified organism must be chosen and isolated. Presently, most genes transferred into plants provide protection against insects or tolerance to herbicides.
Facts and figuresEvery year, an organisation funded by the geneticengineering industry called the International Servicefor the Acquisition of Agri- biotech Applications(ISAAA) publishes new figures and highlights theincrease in the acreage of land planted withgenetically modified organisms (GMOs) across theWorld.
These are the facts that the ISAAA does not put inits press release:• 92.5% of arable land around the world is GMOfree;• Only four countries grow almost 90% of the totalGM crops;• 176 out of the 192 countries grow no GMOs atall;• In over 10 years on the market, only four GMcrops are grown in significant quantity – soya,maize, cotton and oil-seed rape (canola). Thesefour crops represent 99% of GMOs sold;• Virtually 100% of world acreage planted withcommercial GM crops have one or both of justtwo traits: herbicide-tolerance and insect resistance.
GM countries• Four countries represent 99% of total GM surface in 2001: United States (68%), Argentina (22%), Canada (6%) and China (3%). It is estimated that 70% of products on U.S. grocery shelves include GM products. In particular, Bt corn is widely grown, as are soybeans genetically designed to tolerate Monsantos Roundup herbicide.
Genetical damage to pregnant women• When it comes to food, many people believe that the more natural, the better — perhaps especially where their baby is concerned. Because genetic combinations occur in the genetic engineering lab that arent possible in nature, critics are concerned that playing with our food technologically may have far- reaching impacts on human health and the environment.
Top Ten Genetically Engineered Food Crops1. Corn: Our number-one agricultural commodity.2. Soy: The number-two U.S. agricultural commodity.3. Potato: Currently, the only GE potato is a Burbank Russet variety, marketed under the name New Leaf.4. Tomato: The first GE tomato, the Flavor Savor, was introduced commercially in 1994, but flopped because it proved tasteless.5. Canola: Of the 15 million acres of canola grown in the U.S. and Canada annually, 35% is GE, mostly for herbicide- resistance.
6. Cottonseed Oil: In 2000, 61% of the 15.5 million acres of cotton grown in the U.S. was genetically engineered.7. Papaya: More than one third of Hawaiian papayas have been genetically engineered to withstand the papaya ringspot virus.8. Radicchio: Currently one variety of radicchio, called Seed Link, has been genetically engineered to be resistant to the herbicide glufosinate.9. Squash: Several varieties of summer squash have been genetically engineered to resist mosaic viruses.10. Salmon: A company called Aqua Bounty has engineered a salmon with genes from two different fish species so that it grows much more quickly than non-GE salmon.