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GENETICALLY

MODIFIED
ORGANISMS (GMOs)
What is Ge netica lly
Mo di fied Org anism
(GMO )?
- an organism whose genetic structure has
been altered by incorporating a gene
that will express a desirable trait, often
termed gene splicing.
- interchangeable with Genetically
Engineered Organism
• GMOs can be plants, animals or (most
commonly) micro-organisms (including
bacteria, viruses parasites and fungi).
• Where the GMO is a micro-organism it
is typically referred to as a Genetically
Modified Micro-organism (GMM)
• Flavr Savr Tomato - first food produced
from gene splicing and evaluated by the
FDA
HI STOR Y
Genetic engineering was made possible
through:
- series of scientific advances including the
discovery of DNA
- creation of the first recombinant bacteria
in 1973, i.e., E .coli expressing a
salmonella gene.
HI STOR Y
 Herbert Boyer then founded the first
company to use recombinant DNA
technology, Genentech, and in 1978
the company announced the creation
of an E. coli strain producing the
human protein insulin.
1986
- field tests of a bacterium genetically engineered
to protect plants from frost damage (ice-minus
bacteria) at a small biotechnology company
called Advanced Genetic Sciences of Oakland,
California, were repeatedly delayed by opponents
of biotechnology.
- proposed field test of a microbe genetically
engineered for a pest resistance protein by
Monsanto was dropped.
TRA NSGE NIC
ANIMA LS
 are used as experimental models to
perform phenotypic tests with genes
whose function is unknown
or to generate animals that are
susceptible to certain compounds or
stresses for testing in biomedical
research.
TRA NSGENIC P LA NTS
Transgenic plants have been developed
for various purposes:
- resistance to pests, herbicides or
harsh environmental conditions;
- improved shelf life; increased
nutritional value and many more.
ISS UES CO NCE RNIN G
GMOs
Perceived Advantages
– Pest Resistance
– Herbicide tolerance
– Disease resistance
– Cold Tolerance
– Drought tolerance/salinity
tolerance
– Nutrition
– Pharmaceuticals
– Phytoremediation
Perceived Disadvantages
A. En vironmen tal Ha zard s
– Unintended harm to other
organisms/ Possible loss of
Biodiversity
– Reduced effectiveness of pesticides
– Gene transfer to non-target species
 SOLUTIONS: Contained use- is where
control measures are used to limit
contact between GMOs and humans and
the environment so as to provide a high
level of safety.
 RISK ASSESSMENTS - all works related
to GMOs must be submitted to the
regulatory authorities for approval
before work can commence.
B. Hu ma n H ealt h R isk s
– Allergenicity
– Unknown effects on human
health/ Gene Transfer
– Outcrossing
A. Eco nomic Concern s
Can these food items be used
effectively to prevent disease in at-
risk populations?
- GMOs have potential to create less
expensive foods that contain the
appropriate amount of nutrients.
What is the economic impact to U.S. and
world agricultural economies?
- GMOs could be developed that can
survive droughts or floods on lands that
are currently unable to sustain crops.

What are the environmental impacts of


bringing this land into production?