History of GM foods From 6000 BC onwards, the Babylonians, Egyptians and Sumerians were all using various methods of fermentation. Yeast was very common in making beer and wines In 1724, cross fertilizing of corn was discovered. Born in 1823, Gregor Mendel was the very first person to trace the genetic characteristics of living things. In 1962, James Watson and Francis Crick won the Nobel Prize for Medicine for unravelling the mystery of the structure of DNA When scientists realised that all living things use the same genetic message code, those being adenine (A), thymine (T), cytosine (C) and guanine (G). The characteristics of organisms could now be altered just by changing its DNA GM foods came into existence In 1980, the US Supreme Court made a ruling that genetically altered life forms would require patentings. 1983 First GE plant - A tobacco plant engineered with a yeast gene 1993 Field trials of GM crops were underway in 32 countries 1995 4000 trials of GM plant species
Examples of GM Food Food that has already being modified, or are very likely to be genetically modified in the near future include: Apple Canola Grapevine Lentil Lettuce Maize Papaya Pea Pineapple Potato Soya Bean Sugarcane Tomato Wheat Genetically modified food and ingredients already on sale in Australia are: Sugar Beet - Sugar, Glucose Canola - Edible seed products, Edible oil products Soya Bean - Soy beverages, Tofu, Soy oil, Soy flour Potato - Potato flour, Potato starch Corn/Maize - Corn oil, Corn meal, Corn starch (flour), Corn sugar or syrup
Crop Improvements The basic benefits in the application of gene technology in the agricultural industries and type of Improvement Environmental benefits such as lower amounts of chemical pesticides, lower levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Sustainability of the natural resource base, Food security for a growing world population Herbicide - tolerant plants, Bt - maize, rice with increased photosynthesis due to presence of maize genes. More exact, faster breeding methods. Gene- transfer vectors and viruses, electropration, biolistics. Improved nutrition. Iron enriched rice, Vitamin- A containing rice. Increased yields. Boosted rice output with maize genes.
Genetically Modified Food online News From October 12 – 21 st 2003 Reuters - British Government Seen Postponing GM Decision UK: October 21, 2003 LONDON - Britain is likely to have to wait several years before it sees genetically modified crops being grown commercially, if at all, because of the high political risk, analysts said Monday. BBC News - The Co-op has announced that it is banning genetically modified food and ingredients throughout its entire business. New Scientist – The results of the world's largest ever trial of GM crops show that two out of the three tested - oilseed and sugar beet - had a worse impact on farmland wildlife than conventional crops. Independent, UK – American biotech companies tried to lie to Europe in an attempt to force genetically modified crops upon them, Margot Wallström, the European environment commissioner, said yesterday. Independent, UK – Study Reveals First Evidence that GM Superweeds ExistonlineBritish Government Seen Postponing GM Decision UK The Co-op has announced The results of the world's largest ever trial American biotech companies Study Reveals First Evidence that GM Superweeds Exist
The Process See http://www.balwynhs.vic.edu.au/home/mendels/howto.html The steps in genetically engineering/modifying an organism are: 1. Identifying the gene of interest and decoding or sequencing the gene to determine its DNA structure. 2. Inserting the gene into single cells of the target organism. 3. Growing transformed cells into a complete organism.http://www.balwynhs.vic.edu.au/home/mendels/howto.html
What are the health advantages, disadvantages, of GMF? Crops with defined health benefits will become available. For example: "golden rice"--rice genetically modified to produce enhanced levels of vitamin A and rice with elevated levels of bioavailable iron Developing vaccines in plants is very attractive and appears to be quite feasible--for example, people may be immunized against measles or other diseases by eating bananas. Exposure of human populations to large amounts of novel proteins that have never previously been in the human food chain could cause unpredictable problems. In particular, allergenicity could cause problems that would be difficult to detect, as symptoms can take a long time to develop.