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1. What are they? 2. Are they safe to eat? 3. Are public concerns rational? Genetically modified foods by Tim Harding B.Sc.

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Presentation on theme: "1. What are they? 2. Are they safe to eat? 3. Are public concerns rational? Genetically modified foods by Tim Harding B.Sc."— Presentation transcript:

1 1. What are they? 2. Are they safe to eat? 3. Are public concerns rational? Genetically modified foods by Tim Harding B.Sc.

2 1850s: natural selection and sexual selection (Darwin) 1860s-90s: basic rules of genetics (Mendel) : genes arranged linearly on the chromosome (Morgan and Sturtevant) 1944: DNA identified as gene carrier 1953: discovery of the chemical structure of DNA (Watson and Crick) Brief history of DNA research

3 DNA structure

4 Genetic code

5 Genetic modification evolution: natural selection and sexual selection human intervention: artificial selection

6 Artificial selection plant and animal breeding (long-term) mutagenesis (hit or miss) genetic engineering (short-term) End result is the same = modification of genetic code

7 All DNA is safe to eat DNA is DNA – no natural vs artificial DNA biochemically and nutritionally the same only difference is in the genetic code i.e. sequence of the bases G, C, T and A.

8 Current food regulations in Australia Australia has one of the most rigorous food safety testing regimes in the world GE foods are tested even more rigorously than nonGE foods principle of substantial equivalence foods certified as organic or biodynamic should not contain any GE ingredients (according to voluntary organic food industry guidelines)

9 GM foods all farmed foods all meats except for wild game and kangaroo farmed fish e.g. salmon all plant foods except bush tucker all cultivated mushrooms

10 GE foods cisgenesis (within the same species) or transgenesis (from different species) early 1990s: transgenic plant products (soybean, corn, canola, and cotton seed oil) no GE whole foods available in Australia – why?

11 Objections to GE foods the appeal to nature fallacy alleged but unproven safety issues ideological concerns ecological concerns

12 Benefits of GE foods sturdy plants able to withstand weather extremes better quality food crops higher nutritional yields in crops inexpensive and nutritious food foods with a greater shelf life food with medicinal (nutraceutical) benefits crops resistant to disease and insects produce that requires less chemical application


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