The INvasion of Mutant Crops

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The invasion of the mutant crops! Is it possible to grow Genetically modified crops (GMOs) in a way that prevents gene transfer from GMOs to conventional crops? In 1994, the first FDA approved GM (genetically modified) food hit grocery stores in the United States; the Flavr Savr tomato had modified genes that would allow it to stay fresh on the shelves longer (Woolsey). That was the beginning of what has become a prominent farming method in the United States. GMO crops can be designed to resist herbicides like Round Up, so that produce crops can be indiscriminately sprayed and only the weeds are destroyed. Some crops, like GMO cotton, are designed to be toxic to common insect pests. Sometimes the modifications just remove unfavorable traits, or increase harvest yields in undesirable growing locations, allowing us to fill supermarket shelves with produce year-round. There is now a growing concern that GMO crops are causing irreversible changes to our conventional (non-GMO) crops and some wild relatives. The concern is that GMO plants are transferring their genetics, and sometimes, full GMO traits, to conventional crops. Many now fear that under-regulated GMO crops could unintentionally alter a major food source in such a way as to make it incompatible with human consumption. Pharming is the process of inserting genes that code for pharmaceutical drugs into common crops, like carrots (kraemer). If those genes were to get outside of the laboratory setting, and into our conventional carrot crops, carrots could become toxic and inedible. The first vector in which GMO crops can transfer their genes to conventional crops is through cross-pollination, where GMO plant pollen is transferred, via wind or bee pollination, to conventional cro... ... middle of paper ... ...etically Engineered Microorganisms." Department Of Biology, University Of Louisville., 19 July 1988. Web. 07 May 2014. Dlugosch, Katrina M., and Jeannette Whitton. "Can We Stop Transgenes from Taking a Walk on the Wild Side?" Molecular Ecology 17.5 (2008): 1167-169. Print. Kraemer, Kai. "Farming for Pharma." Lab Times (2012): 38-40. Web. 10 May 2014. Lippe, Moritz Von Der, and Ingo Kowarik. "Crop Seed Spillage along Roads: A Factor of Uncertainty in the Containment of GMO." Ecography 30.4 (2007): 483-90. Print. Mellon, Margaret, and Jane Rissler. Gone to Seed: Transgenic Contaminants in the Traditional Seed Supply. Publication. Cambridge: UCS Publications, 2004. Web. 7 May 2014 Woolsey, GL. "GMO Timeline: A History of Genetically Modified Foods." Rosebud Magazine Hydroponics Lifestyle Growing And Entertainment! Rosebud Magazine, 03 Dec. 2013. Web. 07 May 2014.
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