The Biology Behind GMOs

GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are those organisms whose genome has been altered at the molecular level to express certain desired physiological traits or to obtain desirable biological products. This is done by introducing genes from unrelated species of the same organism to obtain traits that would not have been obtained easily through conventional breeding.

An example of a GM crop is “golden” rice, which produces almost 20 times the beta-carotene of previous varieties. Beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A in the liver.

Golden rice was created by including a gene from the daffodil Narcissus pseudonarcissus that produces an enzyme known as phytoene synthase and a gene from the bacterium Erwinia uredovora that produces an enzyme called phytoene desaturase in the rice genome. The introduction of these genes enabled beta-carotene to accumulate in the rice endosperm, increasing the amount of beta-carotene available for vitamin A synthesis in the body.

The methods of genetic engineering used to produce GMOs are recombinant gene technology and reproductive cloning.

In reproductive cloning, a nucleus is extracted from a cell of the individual to be cloned and is inserted into the enucleated cytoplasm of a host egg, producing genetically identical offspring.

Recombinant DNA technology involves the insertion of one or more individual genes from an organism of one species into the DNA of another.

Whole-genome replacement, involving the transplantation of one bacterial genome into the cytoplasm of another microorganism has been reported, although this technology is still limited to basic scientific applications.

The application of the science behind GMOs can be applied in many fields like agriculture, medicine, and environmental management. This technology opens up new and exciting vistas for future scientific research.

Bibliography :

Michigan State University


Why GMOs Might Not Be The Best Option We’ve Come Across Yet

Picture this. You’re walking through the fruits and vegetables aisle at your local grocery store and you decide to buy strawberries. So you pick up a box filled with juicy strawberries, but you then notice that the box has a sticker on it saying “GMO”. Would you still buy it?

The “GMO” on the sticker stands for “Genetically Modified Organism”, or, a genetically modified food in this case. These are food types that don’t exist in nature, but are rather engineered so as to choose the most desirable traits of the particular category, and grow them artificially.

To put this process in simple words, it is similar to Darwin’s theory of “selective breeding” or “artificial selection”. The organisms with the most desired characteristics are chosen and combined, in order to obtain similar features in the offspring. Nowadays, this practice is often followed in the food industry to produce the best and healthiest crops.

One such success story of GMOs took place in the year 2000. A type of rice called “Golden rice” was developed, with the intention to battle vitamin A deficiency, which is estimated to kill over five lakh people every year.

However, genetically modified foods are quite a controversial topic today. Even though there may be trust in the science of the way the process works, people are not willing to trust the companies and establishments that control our food supply; and rightfully so.

It is a common practice of large corporations to play on the ignorance of the average person when it comes to topics like these. Much of the criticism towards GMOs today, is mostly criticism towards the large corporations that control the distribution of food rather than the GMO product itself.

Like everything present in this world, GMOs also have advantageous and disadvantageous sides. Of course, there’s the advantage that healthier crops with high yields can be produced. But at the same time, it is not uncommon for the consumption of GMO products to cause various allergic reactions in people’s bodies. Adding to the previous point is the fact that new combinations of foods could create new allergies and diseases at any time.

With that being said, it is important to know about your individual body requirements and do the required amount of research so that you can make an informed choice at the grocery store next time, rather than believe misconceptions that you’ve heard. Thus, let us make an educated choice.

GMOs: Glancing through the years

Scientists have so far created microbes that manufacture pharmaceuticals – grade pharmaceuticals, crops- pharmaceuticals. crops with built-in insecticides, and glow-in-the-dark beagles. While these are all relatively recent scientific breakthroughs, humans have been tinkering with species’ genomes for over 30,000 years. How did the concept of genetically modified organisms, as we know it now, arise from the original method of selective breeding? Innovators, spurred on by some of the world’s most pressing issues, have prepared the road for Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) – a path that leads to an inconceivable array of benefits while also raising significant questions. Here with the answers you need, is TrailBlazHER’s Anvita Tripathi.

In recent years, the concept of “genetically modified organisms,” or GMOs, has gotten a lot of press. Indeed, since late 2012, the number of Google searches for “GMO” has more than tripled. Humans, on the other hand, have been genetically altering species for more than 30,000 years! Needless to say, our forefathers did not have access to scientific laboratories capable of directly modifying DNA, so how did they do it, and how did GMOs become such a hot topic?