Sanjaya Rajaram, winner of the 2014 World Food Prize, used an innovative…In a landmark West Australian Supreme Court decision, a farmer growing a genetically modified canola crop has been spared the blame after his neighbour accused him of contaminating his organic farm next…Many people, including me, are pretty fed up with the continuing fuss about GM food and crops.
The first genetically engineered (GE) food crop (tomato) was introduced in 1995, followed by the successful development and commercial release of maize, soybeans, cotton, canola, potatoes, papaya, alfalfa, squash, and sugar beets with specific new genetic traits.
In crops targeted for the expression of a protein, the introduced DNA insert includes the protein-coding sequence (open reading frame) along with the regulatory sequences (promoter and terminator) required for its expression.
Suppression of expression of specific viral and endogenous proteins has currently been achieved by inserting DNA that produces a complementary strand of RNA specific to viral RNA or endogenous RNA.
Genetically engineered (GE) crops have been produced and marketed commercially for more than 20 years, and the foods obtained from them have been consumed by millions of people and billions of livestock animals (Van Eenennaam and Young, 2014).
The safety of GE crops introduced into the market has been assessed for potential to cause adverse effects to human and animal health or the environment in premarket approval processes.
Collectively, the work conducted to date has identified no evidence of adverse health or nutritional effects from commercially available GE crops or from the foods obtained from them.
In common parlance, GE crops are most often referred to as genetically modified (GM) crops or GM organisms, but the phrase “genetically modified” is not an accurate description because all crops are GM through natural mutations and natural hybridization and genome duplication, followed by selective breeding to improve crop quality and quantity.
Recent development of advanced genome editing tools, including zinc finger nucleases, TALENs, or CRISPR-Cas9, are providing opportunities to develop what can be described as the next generation of GE crops by introduction of foreign DNA with methods that differ from those described above.
However, these technologies also can be used to cut or make site-specific mutations in endogenous genes (ie, genome editing) without introducing any new DNA into the genome of the plant or by silencing endogenous genes.