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Plants are striking and well-known

resources in their original form. They
produce chemical compounds having
abundant varieties .Additional traits are
given to plants by genetic engineering. By
using transgenic techniques the gene of
interest can move between different species
of plants. The aim is the introduction of new
traits to plants which are not present
naturally in species. In the enhancement of
agricultural production genetically modied
plants (GMPs) are proved advantageous and
also hold great prospective for the future
agriculture. Genetically modied (GM)
plants put forward benefits in healthiness,
nutrition and food quality.

Keywords: Carotenoids, Flavonoids,

Genetically modified plants, Golden Rice,
Vitamin A, tomato.

Transgenic plants are engineered with single
or multiple heterologues or homologues
genes by using latest molecular biological
procedures. These plants have advance
endowment. They can tolerate abiotic and
biotic stresses like desication, insects,
biotechnology is a term that is collectively
used to illustrate all the activities involved in
the advancement of transgenic plants.
Plants manufacter
and gather almost
200,000 naturally synthesized products
(Fiehn 2002) which are used as medicine,
foods, avors and other materials for many
years.Natural products
produced by
mammals and bacteria are about 3500 (Hall

et al. 2002). Alkaloids, terpenoids, steroids,

avonoids are economically important
compounds derived from plants. Even
though in nature, plants are alluring sources
of natural products, through transgenic
procedure gene of interest can transfer
between plants relating to different species
or even to different kingdom.
The basic focus of genetic engineering is to
produce plants having tolerance against viral
diseases and introduction of delayed
ripening in plants, which are profitable for
seed companies and farmers that lead the
These are so-called rst generation
genetically modied (GM) plants and
comprise the Flavr SavrTM tomato has been
modeled with a local gene inserted in
overturne, giving it a delayed-ripening trait,
rst commercialized in 1994. Large-scale
profitable cultivation of GM plants began in
1996 with a total global area of 1.7 million
hectares. Cropping acreage for GM plants
has prolonged to 81 million hectares in 17
countries in 2004 and to 90 million hectares
in 21 countries by 2005.
When lab-based research is integrated, 63
countries have a hazard in GM plants
(Runge and Ryan 2004). In 2005, almost all
GM estate was taken by rst generation
plants, conquered by herbicide-tolerance
(71%), followed by insect resistance (18%)
and a mishmash of these traits (11%).
During last decade genetically modified
plants having triats which are very useful for
consumers are produced .plants rich in
nutrients ,having low allergenicity and

superior qualities are included in 2nd

generation. Examples of second generation
plants are soybeans having high content of
oleic acid- laurate- and rice having high
content of vitamin A .

Genetically modifying a plant:

There are number of techniques for the
production of genetically modified plants.
The two most commonly used are the gene
gun, which shoots microscopic particles
coated with DNA into the plant cell and
bacterium Agrobacterium tumefaciens,
which is naturally able to transfer DNA to
plants. Using tissue culture techniques
generally, individual plant cells are targeted
and are regenerated into whole genetically
modified plants. Three aspects of this
procedure have raised debate with regard to
human health.
1) The use of markers for identification
of transformed cells
2) Transfer of extraneous DNA into the
plant genome (i.e. genes other than
those being studied)
3) The possibility of mutations in
genetically modified plants is
increased as compared to nongenetically modified counterparts
due to tissue culture processes used
in their production and the
rearrangement of DNA around
insertion site of foreign genes.
To facilitate the transformation process, a
selectable marker gene conferring, e.g.,
antibiotic resistance (e.g. kanamycin, which
will kill a normal non- genetically modified
plant cell), is often co-transferred with the
gene of interest to allow discrimination of
genetically modified tissue and regeneration
of genetically modified plants. Critics of the
technology stated that the risk of spread of
antibiotic resistance to the bacterial

population exist either in the soil or in the

human gut after GM food ingestion. The
antibiotic resistance genes were isolated
from bacteria and are widespread in the
bacterial population. Studies have concluded
that there is low probability of transmission
of antibiotic resistance from plants to
The second aspect of the plant
transformation is that unnecessary DNA is
transferred into the plant genome as a
consequence of the engineering and transfer
process. Again plant technologists criticized
it by designing minimal cassettes in which
only the gene of interest is transferred into
the plant. Of course, there is no reason that
DNA per se should be harmful, as humans
consumed it in all foods.
Finally, it has been claimed that the
possibility of mutations in genetically
modified plants is greater than their
untransformed counterparts as a result of the
production method. Genome-wide mutations
may be produced by somaclonal variation,
and endogenous DNA rearrangements may
occur around the integrated transgene.
Latham et al. stated that mutations around
foreign gene has insertion sites have not
been fully characterized in either
experimental or commercialized genetically
modified plants. Consequently, several
recommendations are proposed by these
authors involving improved molecular
commercialization of genetically modified
GM plants as a source of foods:
plants can be consumed directly as foods,
used to produce desirable extractable oils, or
can be used in an efficient protein
expression system.According to Estimates
80% of U.S. processed food may contains

ingredient from a GE crop, including

cottonseed oil, corn oil, high-fructose corn
syrup, corn starch, canola oil, soy lecithin,
soy flour, or soybean oil. There are very
few whole GE foods which are
commercially available. FlavrSavrTM tomato
was the first commercial GE whole food.
Engineered fruit which is commercially
available in the U.S. today is the only GE
papaya. Another commercial whole food
which is available in the U.S. is GE squash.
The last whole GE food available in the U.S.
is GE sweet corn. In the developed countries
as individuals have access to a wide variety
of foods that will meet all of the nutritional
needs so the nutritional content of food is
not of major concern. In the developing
countries, however people often rely on a
single staple food crop for their energy
intake. GM technology offers a way to
alleviate problems by engineering plants to
express additional products that can combat
malnutrition. An important example of this
technology is the Golden Rice Project.
GM crops (Golden Rice) with high
vitamin A content:
Deficiency of vitamin A is widespread in
the developing countries and Estimates
suggest that deaths of approximately 2
million children per year. Human synthesize
vitamin A from -carotene, which is
commonly found in many plants but is not
found in cereal grains.
Golden Rice was developed for farmers in
the poorest countries.Golden Rice was
named so because of its bright yellow bcarotene-producing endosperm. Vitamin A is
a micronutrient which is fat-soluble and is
mainly enclosed in eggs, butter and liver.
Vitamin A is precursor of b-carotene, and

other carotenoids, are produced in yellow

and green vegetables. Carotenoids obtained
from plants sources have an advantage over
retinol obtained from animal sources,
because carotenoids can be converted as
needed to meet metabolic requirements and
excessive retinol may cause a toxic surplus
in vitamin A, whereas Vitamin A deficiency
(VAD) causes xerophthalmia, nightblindness, bone growth deficiencies
weakens the immune system. In developing
countries VAD problems are solved by
vitamin A preferable in the form of
carotenoid enriched foods. The biosynthetic
pathway of carotenoid has been well-studied
in plants and bacteria. In plants, carotenoids
Golden Rice was first engineered by the
insertion of the PSY gene from daffodil (The
PSY gene is under the control of an
endosperm-specific glutelin promoter) and
the bacterial phytoene desaturase (CrtI) gene
from Erwinia uredovora. The United
Nations System Chief Executives Board for
Coordination at present), one person require
777 lg retinol equivalents (RE) per day
(Beaton et al. 1993) and minimum average
requirements are about 250 lg RE per person
per day.
The higher b-carotene content was achieved
by choosing the maize PSY gene rather than
the PSY genes from daffodil , Arabidopsis,
or the carotenoid accumulating vegetables
such as bell pepper, tomato and carrot. An
antibiotic resistance marker was used for
initial selection to make Golden Rice more
responsive to environmental concerns, and
selection system, and co-transformation
techniques was used for production of

marker-free transgenic plants. In Southeast

Asia, where widespread clinical VAD has
been reported, b-carotene synthesis genes
were introgressed into two Indica varieties,
MTL250 and IR64 to adapt Golden Rice2 to
local cultivation conditions. MTL250 is
widely cultivated in Vietnam and IR64 is a
commonly found throughout the ricegrowing regions. The Golden Rice project is
in progress with the participation of the
Bangladesh and Indonesia. Thus, Golden
Rice has positive impact on human health
because of its high carotenoid accumulation
GM plants as a source of carotenoids and
Recently, Davuluri et al. reported GM
tomatoes with high levels of carotenoids and
flavonoids produced by alteration of a single
transcription factor. Flavonoids are a group
of well studied plant secondary metabolites
that, among other functions, serve as flower
and fruit pigments and precursors of plant
defense compounds. Flavonoids play an
important role in human health due to their
antioxidant activity and involved in
protection against cancers, cardiovascular
disease and age related diseases (Schijlen et
al. 2004).
Vaccine-producing plants for pollen
Plants are a reservoir of valuable
pharmacological compounds and people
have utilized plants as therapeutic products
for thousands of years. In this decade, plants
may fill a more direct role as producers of
vaccines, antibodies or protein based signal
molecule therapeutics. Allergen proteins are
degraded to small peptides after uptake and
the epitopes are exposed on the cell surface
of antigen presenting cells for recognition by
specific T-cell receptors. After recognition, T
cells transfer signals through Thelper cells

(Th1 and/or Th2) to B cells that produce IgE

antibody. Th1 and Th2 produce interferon
(IFN-c) and interleukins (IL-4, IL-5 and IL13), respectively cytokines as regulatory
proteins for the immune response cascade.
IL-4 stimulates the production of IgE
antibodies and IFN-c represses it. The
process of interaction of IgE antibody with
mast cells is known as sensitization. Once
sensitization is completed, the binding of
allergen to IgE antibody causes a severe
hypersensitivity called Type I allergy
(Broide 2001) edible vaccine were examined
using potato, and banana fruits with
expression of the hepatitis B surface antigen
(Richter et al. 2000, Kumar et al. 2005).
Vaccines for diarrhea, hepatitis B and rabies,
lymphoma, colorectal cancer have been
submitted for phase I or phase II clinical
trials in humans (Ma et al. 2005).
Allergic responses to GM foods:
Food allergies occur in 12% of adults and
68% of children (Metcalfe et al., 1996;
Sampson, 1997). The introduction of a new
gene into a plant, or change in the
expression of an existing gene, may cause
plant to become allergenic. The allergenic
risks posed by GM plants are in principle no
greater than those posed by conventionallyderived crops or by plants introduced from
other parts of the world, such as the
introduction of kiwi fruit into Europe.
Allergic sensitisation to a GM plant, as with
a conventionally derived plant, could occur
via the lungs (perhaps through inhaling
pollen or dust created during milling) or
through skin contact (for example, during
handling), as well as via the gastrointestinal
tract following ingestion of foods.
Occupational allergies to conventional
plants can take the form of either immediate
hypersensitivity or delayed hypersensitivity
Immediate hypersensitivity
allergies to plants, involve inhalation of
particulates are particularly common , such

as bakers asthma which results from

inhalation of flour particles, and latex
allergy is thought to arise from inhalation of
the powder used to coat latex gloves (to
which some latex from the gloves becomes
associated). Individuals involved in the
harvesting of crops and in food processing
techniques that generate dusts are at risk the
of sensitisation through both inhalation and
skin contact.
International Food Biotechnology Council in
collaboration with the International Life
Sciences Institute (1996) has develop a
hierarchical approach includes determining
whether the source of the introduced gene is
an allergenic plant, whether GM foods react
with antibodies in the sera of patients with
known allergies, and whether the product
encoded by the new gene has similar
chemical and biological properties. It
involves animal models of allergy that can
be used to screen genetically modified
Current decision trees are expanded to
encompass food allergies. GM foods should
be re-introduced into the market in UK. The
Food Standards Agency considers whether
post-marketing surveillance should be part
of the overall safety strategy for allergies, of
high-risk groups such as infants and
individuals in atopic families. The
collection of collated longitudinal public
health data is one of the only ways to
identify rare allergies, to any food, in the
The use of viral DNA in plants and
Potential effects on human health:
Two types of plant viral DNA sequence are
used in the construction of genes inserted
into GM plants. The first includes
promoters, usually short sequences of
DNA that are required for the expression
(switching on) of all genes. In GM plants
the inserted gene is combined with a
promoter from the cauliflower mosaic plant
virus (the so-called CaMV 35S promoter).

The second type of sequence genes that

encode the outer protective coat proteins of
viruses, which expressed in the plant
interfere with infecting viruses and confer
resistance. The introduction of viral DNA
sequences into GM plants can produce new
viruses through recombination (gene
exchange), either with the remnants of viral
DNA sequences or with naturally infecting
plant and animal viruses. Some viruses that
infect plants and animals, suggesting that
they may have jumped between these
kingdoms in their evolutionary past, such
events must be rare; the gene sequences of
plant and animal viruses are usually so
dissimilar that plant viruses cannot infect
animal cells. Some viruses that infect both
plants and animals suggest that they have
jumped between kingdom in their evolution.
Plant and animal viruses are so dissimilar
that plant viruses cannot infect animal cells.
The sub-optimal viruses should remove
from population by natural selection, as it is
the case for most recombinant viruses
produced naturally. The promoter sequence
used in GM plants is a normal constituent of
common plant viruses that frequently infect
food plants. The study of cauliflower mosaic
virus ( CaMV ) show that 10% of cabbages
and 50% of cauliflowers are infected with
the virus. Most integrated viruses are inert
because they contain multiple mutations and
cannot be reactivate by the simple
acquisition of the CaMV35S or any other
promoters. In humans, approximately 1& of
total DNA is composed of integrated
viruses, but only one of these viruses may be
active. ( Turner et al., 2001). It has been
suggested that genetic modification may
cause transposable elements that are already
present in human genome. Like viruses,
transposable elements short sequence of
DNA that have ability to move around the
genome of
eukaryotes and bacteria
increasing in number and commonly
associated with host organisms since early in

evolution. Because of their mobility ,

transposable elements have ability to insert
themselves into ant, damage host genes and
potentially lead to pathological effects such
as tumours. These elements consist of about
40& of total DNA of higher plants and
animals. Transposable elements have been
transferred among different species during
evolution (Capy et al., 1994; Kidwell. 1993;
Silva & Kidwell. 2000;Royal Society, 2001).
Accidental metabolism of transposable
elements during the construction and use of
GM plants have any broad impact on the
biology of humans, animals and plants
compared with what take place under natural
Engineered Crops
The first GE plant was tobacco, reported in
commercialized in 1994. The FlavrSavrTM
tomato was ultimately taken off the market,
other commercial crops has entered the
marketmost notably large acreage crops,
as canola (Brassica napus), corn, cotton,
soybean, and most recently, alfalfa
(Medicago sativa). (If success is measured
by increases in global acreage or farmer
acceptance, certainly these GE crops have
been successful in 2005, the billionth acre of
a GE crop was planted. In 2006 the
worldwide acreage of GE crops was 252
million acres grown by 10.3 million farmers
in 22 countries the majority of the farmers
are in the U.S. In the U.S the adoption of
represented 87% of total U.S soybean
acreage in 2006. HT cotton represent 60% of
total cotton acreage pest-resistant (Bt) cotton
was 52%, whereas Bt corn was 35% of total
corn acreage. FlavrSavrTM tomato
created using a kanamycin resistance
selectable marker gene on the selection of
gene and its product were submitted by the
company and, following review, the gene
and its product were granted GRAS status.

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