Genetically Engineered Organisms

Genetically Engineered Organisms

Without vigorous experimentation or public consent genetically modified foods have been introduced into our daily kitchens without much notice from the general public. Widespread use of genetically modified (GM) seeds began in 1996 and since then has spread to cover 167 million acres around the world; two-thirds of that quantity being in America (Figure 1).
Figure 1

Monsanto is the main developer of these seeds and controls over 90% of the American market, alerting a possible crisis in the democratic system. (Cummins and lilliston, 2004). Alarmingly, some of the largest biotechnological companies have also introduced toxic pesticides into our environments, including but not limiting to: Agent Orange, DDT, and PCB’s, causing much worry worldwide. This report will cover the basics of genetic engineering, genetically engineered seeds, possible effects on human health and affects on the environment.
The four most common genetically engineered (GE) crops grown on a commercial scale are soybeans, corn, cotton and canola. Among these, two main traits have been added: herbicide resistance (75 percent of all GE crops), pesticide resistance (17 percent) or both (8 percent), (Genetically Engineered Food, Page xiv).
The first steps in genetically modifying organisms is identifying the trait you want the plant to have, and finding another organism that has it. Then, the gene can be inserted into the plant using a 22-caliber charge that fires a metal particle coated with DNA, called a “gene gun”. Another method of inserting the desired gene includes heating the seed and placing it under stress causing it to be susceptible to a bug called Agrobacterium tumefaciens. This bacterium tricks the organism into b...

... middle of paper ...

...wever possibly inaccurate, allow us to speculate on new technologies which could help feed the growing population of humans on earth.

Works Cited

Wolfenbarger, Laressa L., and Paul R. Phifer. "The ecological risks and benefits of genetically engineered plants." Science 290.5499 (2000): 2088-2093.
Jesse, Laura C. Hansen, and John J. Obrycki. "Field deposition of Bt transgenic corn pollen: lethal effects on the monarch butterfly." Oecologia 125.2 (2000): 241-248.

Anal Bioanal Chem. Oct 2008; 392(3): 333–340.

Seralini GE, Cellier D, Spiroux de Vendomois J. New analysis of a rat feeding study with a genetically modified maize reveals signs of hepatorenal toxicity. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol. 2007;52:596–602.

The Ecological Risks and Benefits of Genetically Engineered Plants L. L. Wolfenbarger, et al. Science 290, 2088 (2000);
DOI: 10.1126/science.290.5499.2088
Get Access