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Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO)

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Presentation on theme: "Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO)
Friend or Foe

2 genetically modified foods
Also called genetically modified organisms (GMO), or GE foods (Genetically Engineered). Created by inserting DNA from one organism into another (Fish DNA into an Apple) or, modifying an organism’s DNA to attain a desirable traits (I.e. crops that can resist drought and disease). Image credit: Microsoft clipart

3 Examples of GMO’s In 1994, the Flvr Savr tomato (apple DNA combined with Tomato DNA) was introduced as the first GMO food. It is supposed to be“tastier, firmer and fresher” than the average tomato. Golden Ride - enriched rice containing beta-carotene (Vitamin A). This vitamin is not found in normal rice. Bt Corn - corn containing a chemical normally found in bacteria (Bacillus thuringiensis). This is toxic to insects, not humans. Insects try to eat the plant and die. Herbicide resistant plants (roundup ready corn) - these plants are immune to a certain herbicide, so they live while all the other plants in the field are killed.

4 GMO foods…are common According to Greenpeace, up to 70% of processed foods in Canada contain GMO ingredients. Most common are corn, soy, canola and cotton.

5 What is grown globally? In 2001 the area of genetically modified crops grown globally was 52.6 million hectares. That is an area the size of France or Spain. This includes food and non-food crops (I.e.cotton) 4 countries produced 99% of the world's genetically modified crops. These are: USA (68%) Argentina (22%) Canada (6%) China (3%) More than 80% of canola grown in Canada and a high proportion of the country’s soybean and corn crops are genetically modified. Image credit: Microsoft clipart

6 From ( U.S. Dept. Agriculture 2001)

7 GMO’s In Canada Health Canada groups GMO foods into a category called “Novel Foods” Foods resulting from a process not previously used for food; Products that have never been used as a food; or Foods that have been modified by genetic manipulation, also known as genetically modified (GM) foods, genetically engineered foods or biotechnology-derived foods

8 GMO’s in Canada 70 novel foods have been approved for sale in Canada.
Potatoes Canola Corn Tomatoes Squash Soybeans Flax Are all examples!! 70 novel foods have been approved for sale in Canada. These crops are processed into the goods we buy in grocery stores…. Fries, cakes, oils, sugars, sauces Animals that feed on GMOs… And more… all without mandatory labeling.

9 Benefit #1 Increased Crop Productivity
This includes herbicide tolerance, pest and disease resistance E.g. “Roundup ready” crops, and BT corn. Could mean using less spray

10 Benefit #2 Cold Tolerance Drought Tolerance
plants developed to tolerate cold temperatures withstand unexpected frost that could destroy seedlings. Drought Tolerance currently inhospitable regions can now be cultivated

11 Benefit # 3 Improved Nutrition
crops like rice are a staple in developing countries but are nutritionally inadequate. GMO "golden rice" is high in beta-carotene (vitamin A) Vitamin A - reduces eye-related problems like blindness due to malnutrition

12 Benefit #4 Phytothoremediation
Plants like poplar tees clean up the heavy metal soil contamination GMO plants with higher tolerance for heavy metals like mercury are created

13 Benefit #5 Future Benefits
food without allergens; (I.e. anyone could eat nuts) grains, fruit & vegetables with improved nutrition (multi-vitamin potatoes=healthy fast food french fries!) longer shelf life and better taste (reduced food waste due to spoilage) rice enhanced with iron (prevent anemia) foods used as vaccines (bye-bye needles) And many more possibilities

14 Challenge #1 Environmental – possibility of unintended harm to other organisms A pest resistant crop that produces toxins could harm both crop-damaging and non crop-damaging insects. (e.g. of this is the BR corn is thought to affect/kill the larvae of a Monarch Butterfly.

15 Challenge #2 Pesticides will become less effective as pests become resistant and start to adapt to the GMO Different varieties and strengths of pesticides will be needed once weeds have adapted to the existing effective pesticides.

16 Challenge #3 Super weeds
Gene transfer to non-target species where herbicide tolerant plants crossbreed with weeds potentially creating herbicide resistant weeds. Some Western Canadian farmers are calling Monsanto’s round-up ready canola a superweed.

17 Challenge #4 Human Health Risk
introducing a gene into a plant may create a new allergen or cause an allergic reaction in susceptible individuals. Also if one was to insert the genes from a nut into another plant could be dangerous for people who are allergic to nuts

18 Challenge #5 Economic Hazards
GMO seeds are patented (must buy each year) This presents problems for poor farmers in both the developed and developing worlds. Large companies like Monsanto have resorted to suing small farmers found to be using their seed without paying. Suicide Seeds In order to compete with the global market, farmers are forced to by GMO seeds. Problem – some seeds they buy are infertile and yield NO CROPS.

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