What is a genetically modified organism (GMO)?

Genetically modified organism examples

Venomous CabbageScientists have recently taken the gene that programs poison in scorpion tails and looked for ways to combine it with cabbage.

Why would they want to create venomous cabbage? To limit pesticide use while still preventing caterpillars from damaging cabbage crops.

These genetically modified cabbages would produce scorpion poison that kills caterpillars when they bite leaves u2014 but the toxin is modified so it isnu2019t harmful to humans.

Genetically modified organisms are also called transgenic

The term GMO stands for genetically modified organism, but it is usually used much more specifically to refer to organisms using recombinant DNA.

That is, GMOs have DNA spliced into them from other species.

,I make this distinction because the food we eat has been genetically modified since long before recombinant techniques became viable.

For decades, seed companies have used irradiation, chemical exposure, and other techniques to spawn mutations in crops.

While such techniques are hit-and-miss, they still produce novel genes, and are not subject to the public opprobrium or the regulatory hurdles of recombinant organisms.

For some reason, new varieties created using recombinant techniques have engendered much more public concern than traditional methods of creating new varieties, even though both approaches result in DNA sequences novel to the species.

,So, are GMO foods intrinsically bad for you? According to the World Health Organization, usually not (http://www.



While the program is technically optional, all biotech companies in the U.


go through a safety evaluation with the FDA before selling any GMO seeds.

Such evaluations look at such factors as whether the inserted genes transfer any allergens from other plants or introduce any toxic compounds.

,There was a well-publicized fiasco around Starlink corn, which contained a gene for the bacterial Bt toxin, a type of insecticide.

The variant of Bt in Starlink, called Cry9C, broke down more slowly in the human digestive tract than the Bt used in other GMO corn.

The FDA considered this an enhanced allergen risk, and in 1998 approved the corn for commercial use only (e.


animal feed).

Unfortunately, it found its way into the human food supply anyway.

28 people claimed to experience allergic reactions to Starlink corn, but a CDC analysis of their blood found nothing to support this (http://www.




,Nevertheless, this has led the FDA to become much more cautious about approvals.

Since the Starlink incident, the FDA only approves GMO crops that meet all of the standards for human consumption.

,Beyond FDA requirements, the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety came into effect on Sept.

11, 2003, and governs most international shipments of GMO products that have the capability to reproduce (e.


intact seeds).

Since most biotech companies want to sell crop seeds internationally, they have to meet international standards for both food safety and environmental safety.

,There certainly have been cases of GMO crops that have failed testing.

For example, there was an attempt to create a transgenic soybean that included albumin from Brazil nuts.

Soybeans are a staple food in much of Asia, and diets there are often deficient in the essential amino acid methionine as a result; this was an attempt to add more methionine to soybeans.

Unfortunately, Brazil nut albumin is a potent allergen, and people allergic to it were also allergic to these transgenic soybeans.

The development was abandoned, and no one was hurt as result.




full),Regulations aside, the potential liability that would result from a biotech company releasing a toxic seed is massive.

As Starlink demonstrated, it is very expensive and difficult to contain a crop variety once released to farmers.

The idea that a company such as Monsanto would risk a massive set of lawsuits that could take down the company in order to rush a GMO crop to market is somewhat absurd.

Genetically modified food


,Others answers have already covered this, including other questions on Quora.

But Ill repeat it again.


Safety in comparison to other crop improvement practicesnGMO techniques are, at the end of the day, yet another tool for plant breeders and other plant scientists to help improve crops.

Modification of plants has been ongoing for millenia, and in some ways may be considered the oldest science.

Scientists have taken advantage of many methods to generate variability, as they have been developed.

These include interspecific crossing, somaconal variation from tissue culture, mutation breeding, doubled haploids, and of course, selection.

,None of these are natural by any definition of natural.

Transgenic insertion is yet another means of generating variability.

It is helpful because it allows us to be much more specific about what we are inserting, and we gain access to genes from any species.

The changes induced by transgenic insertion, unlike all the methods listed above, are specific.

Thus, the changes expected from GMOs are actually far more controlled and limited than many of those other methods.

The other methods are often far more invasive, but there is zero hype about them (and thats the way it should be).

,When a scientist says there may be risks, theyre really just hedging.

Many scientists dont like making absolute statements.

If Im going to make the hedged statement, its that GMOs pose no greater intrinsic risk than other crop improvement methods, and in many cases, pose less of a risk.


Empirical studies have demonstrated GMOs are safenFirst, lets let the myth that no safety studies are done die.

Because of public wariness (frankly, its illiteracy), GMOs are by far the most heavily regulated of crop improvement techniques, both by government agencies and by industry.

,Justin Mas answer to What are some good widely accepted scientific research studies about the safety of GMO products?n,List of studies.

This list is meant to be exhaustive: GENERAnUSDA approvals (pending, rejected, or approved), including documentation:USDA - APHIS - BiotechnologynInternational approvals, including documentation: GM Approval DatabaseTheres a lot more than health safety information in these documents (legalese, environmental safety, agronomic performance), but its there.

n,Its incredible how detailed these documents are.

Each one typically consists of more work than a PhD thesis.

,Personally, I think studies feeding whole seeds are a waste of time, given our biological knowledge.

We know exactly what the protein were inserting is, so if the protein is tested, its a much better safety experiment.


A personal examplenThis is to prove my point that transgenic techniques to produce GMOs do not intrinsically pose a danger, at least not compared to other methods.

I work with tobacco.

Tobacco kills (by the way, that should tell you something about natural).

Scientists have identified some of the most potent carcinogens in tobacco.

I work with tobacco where some of these genes for carcinogens have been knocked-out.

Weve done it by GMO and by mutation breeding.

Do you really want to tell me the GMO tobacco with a known carcinogen removed is more dangerous than non-GMO tobacco with a known carcinogen?,4.

If anybody wants the comprehensive industry opinion, here it is: Tempest in a Tea Pot: How did the Public Conversation on Genetically Modified Crops Drift so far from the Facts?nIts written by a Monsanto employee in regulatory affairs.

Its got links to everything you want.

,And finally: I am a plant breeder.

I breed plants traditionally.

I work with GMOs.

I work with interspecific hybrids.

I work with germplasm.

I work with tissue culture.

I work with doubled haploids.

I work with chemically-induced mutant populations.

I work with plants in the greenhouse.

I work with plants in the field.

I work with plants in a lab.

I eat GMOs.

And I know commercial GMOs are safe.

when was the creation of the first gmo ?


Jayaprakash Narayan (Loksatta) (A Physician by Training, A Bureaucrat by Choice, and A Democrat by Conviction),He secured a rank of #2 in civil services and was IAS at the age of 24.

,He worked as secretary to various ministries of Andhra Pradesh and when he resigned in 1996 at the age of 40, he was the principal secretary to the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh.

,nHe has been fighting for clean politics in India since 1996.

First as an NGO and now as a political party since 2006.

nHe has done tremendous work in bringing about various reforms.

Due to him being in Hyderabad and not Delhi, his work has got very little attention in national media.

He has stood against caste based, religion based politics and is against freebies.

n,nKejriwal is not the only onenStarted Clean Politics that too with Sustainable Economics before Kejriwal without slinging mud at others!n nHere are some his partys acheivements: n1.

Loksatta helped generating 3600 cr rupees more revenue/money for farmers by selling their crops outside the state.


Loksatta cancelled 122, 2G licenses by putting up case in High Court and then Supreme Court.


Loksatta implemented voteru2019s representation improvement.


Loksatta achieved disclosure of candidate details.


Loksatta implemented change in political funding against corruption and black money.


Loksatta achieved anti defection Act.

91st Amendment.


Loksatta implemented change in limiting the size of cabinet.


Loksatta had major contribution in right to information Act.


Loksatta brought about local courts Law.


Loksatta achieved 97th Amendment.


Loksatta fighting for 120th Amendment of constitution (rite to elect Supreme court and High court Judges)n12.

Loksatta achieved liberalization of Agricultural trade.


Loksatta is fighting against import duty for oil seeds from foreign countries.


Most of the amendments passed in Rajya Sabha to secure future of Seema Andhra were by JP and Loksatta Party.


Major Contribution to Judicial Accountability Bill ,nThe best speech on Indian Political System.

Blaming politicians is easy, we need to change the system and ourselves first! ,Edit: Here are some achievements pointed out in the comments section:,Instrumental in creation of record 2,00,000 acres of irrigation with direct participation from the people.

(This is not a joke ;-)),Development of the Infocity HITEC City (Hyderabad Information Technology Engineering Consultancy City) in Hyderabad to facilitate the growth of the software industry.

,Law for self-reliant cooperatives (1995).

nnnFoundation For Democratic Reforms : Dr.

Narayan is the founder member ofFoundation For Democratic Reforms (FDR) and currently serves as its general secretary.

FDR is one of Indias leading think-tanks and research-resource centers for formulating and promoting fundamental reforms in political, electoral and governance spheres and in critical areas of state policy.

nnJayaprakash Narayan was part of National Advisory Council(NIC).

He headed the task force for the Rural Health Commission.

In a way, he is badass in thinking that he believes in discussions, negotiations with anybody either UPA or NDA to get the things done.

The priority is to possible good rather than the impossible best.

nnThe concept of Swaraj (as the term being used by since Mahatma Gandhi times, not the book written by AK) has been existing in India but LSP was the first party to make a plan about implementable decentralization.

They started a Surajya Movement in the last decade.

Alas, all this they did in Andhra Pradesh during State split agitation.

nnAlso, JP is only politician who is supporting GMO crops with proper research and tackling the problems in step by step manner.

(Technology, Distribution, Regulation) rather than combining all the three and making huge noise.

(Loksatta has a research wing :-)).

It is not a joke to take a stand like this in the current Indian political scenario - where Luddite policies and emotional arguments are always favored.

Infact, LSP went as far as going to supreme court to oppose the agricultural committee that sought the ban on field trials of GMO crops.

Genetically modified microorganisms

Genetically modified crops definition

Should there be a definite stand as completely accepting or rejecting genetically modified crops in our society?,Of course not.

GMO is not a single u201cthing.

u201d It is a category of science.

The question is a bit like asking asking if there should be a single stand accepting or rejecting medications in our society.

Just as each medication is a unique entity, with unique features, benefits, risks, and safety margins - each GMO is its own organism, modified in minute or extreme ways, for specific functions that vary completely in their specific makeup.

Each GMO must be evaluated independently.