2 WHAT IS GM FOOD?Individual characteristics of plants, such as the height to which wheat grows or the colour of petals, are determined by their genes. These characteristics, or traits, are inherited from generation to generation. Genetic modification (GM) involves copying the genes which govern a particular characteristic from one organism, and transferring them to another.
3 WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN CONVENTIONAL BREEDING AND GENETIC MODIFICATION ? With conventional breeding, traits can only be transferred between plants or animals of the same or closely related species.Genetic modificationGM enables traits to be transferred between different species, and potentially even between animals and plantsThis method requires a lot of effort and is rather imprecise.Genetic modification is quite precise
4 Conventional breeding Genetic modificationBreeding does not introduce new genetic material into the gene pool of the species but merely selects and brings together in one individual certain genes that are already in the gene pool.The method introduces new genetic material into gene pool, for example fish gene is inserted into tomato.
5 Examples of GM foodmaizeMaize genetically modified to Bt proteinBt protein kills corn borer insectMaizeMaize genetically modified to produce Bt proteinBt protein kills the corn borer insectMaizeMaize genetically modified to produce Bt proteinBt protein kills the corn borer insect‘Bt maize’ has been genetically modified to make it produce a protein from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis. This protein kills the corn borer insect which, in other countries, is a major threat to maize crops.
6 How to add a fish gene to a tomato? Scientists have created a frost-resistant tomato plant by adding an antifreeze gene from a cold-water fish to it. The antifreeze gene comes from the cold-water flounder, a fish that can survive in very cold conditions. This is how it was done.
7 The antifreeze DNA is joined onto a piece of DNA called a plasmid. This hybrid DNA, which is a combination of DNA from 2 different sources, is known as recombinant DNA.The recombinant DNA, including the antifreeze gene, is placed in a bacterium.
8 The bacterium is allowed to reproduce many times producing lots of copies of the recombinant DNA.Tomato plant cells are infected with the bacteria. As a result, the antifreeze gene in the plasmid, in the bacteria becomes integrated into the tomato plant cell DNA.Tomato cells are placed in a growth medium that encourages the cells to grow into plants.
9 Tomato plant seedling is planted. Tomato plant seedling is planted.This GM tomato plant contains a copy of the flounder antifreeze gene in every one of its cells. The plant is tested to see if the fish gene still works. Is it frost resistant? Yes it is.
10 What are the benefits of GM food? Increased YieldsMaking crops resistant to insects and diseases and reducing weeds should lead to fewer crop losses. The global area of GM crops has increased 30-fold in six years.Fewer Pesticides UsedInsect resistant crops can lead to significant reductions in the use of insecticides. Corn borers enter the maize stalk and eat the plant from the inside. GM maize protects itself against the corn borer and usually only one application of insecticide is needed to control other pests
11 Reduced Soil ErosionWith non-GM Soya, weeds are cleared before seeds are planted. With herbicide tolerant Soya this is not necessary as the weeds can more easily be controlled at a later stage. GM seeds are planted by placing them directly into relatively undisturbed soil. This conserves moisture and soil fauna and flora, and reduces water and wind erosion.Feed the worldWith the global population expected to rise to 9 billion within 50 years, feeding the world has never seemed such a daunting task. But GM technology is giving hope to developing countries, where many people think biotechnology can offer improved nutrition, health and prosperity.
12 What are the risks of GM food? Allergy alertIn 1997, US scientists inserted a gene from a Brazil nut into soybeans to make them more nutritious. But the gene also passed on the property of nuts that causes allergies in people.Also, A brand of BT corn was found to express a toxin that scientists thought might cause allergies because of its molecular structure.Attack of the super bugsBT crops that produce their own insecticide could create populations of super bugs - pests that are resistant to the toxins produced by these GM crops.
13 Possible loss of beneficial insects Bt toxin will travel through the food chain and kill beneficial insects such as lacewings and ladybirds. Another concern is that if GM crops are more effective at killing target insects this might deprive other organisms which prey on them, such as birds. The potential harm to beneficial insects caused by GM crops is being further researched.Bt toxin will travel through the food chain and kill beneficial insects such as lacewings and ladybirds. Another concern is that if GM crops are more effective at killing target insects this might deprive other organisms which prey on them, such as birds. The potential harm to beneficial insects caused by GM crops is being further researched.Runner genesEnvironmentalists are worried that GM crops could pollinate wild plant species, introducing foreign GM genes into non-GM species. This could transfer herbicide resistance to weeds, making them difficult to wipe out.
14 Could genes put into GM crops cause the next plague? When people are infected by a population of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, the infection can become impossible to treat. This has sparked fears of new plagues caused by resistance genes getting into the environmentuse of broad spectrum herbicides which kill a wide range of plants will lead to a loss of biodiversity.use of broad spectrum herbicides which kill a wide range of plants will lead to a loss of biodiversity.Loss of BiodiversityUse of wide spectrum of herbicides which kills wide range of plant lead to loss of biodiversity.
15 HOW TO DEAL WITH GM FOOD AS CONSUMERS? To know more about the truth and the recent condition, environmental education is very important. Absorb more information related to the environment, raise environmental protection attitude and practice, only the change of attitude, can help to keep a positive heart to against GM Food.
16 2. When people noticed about they had in-take some kind of GM Food which is under the condition without their permission or being noticed, a sound raised up by the consumer organization around the world "force labeling all the GM Food". For this labeling, it means consumers can boycott GM Food which will cause uneconomical to produce this kind of food. Label is very important for chasing the occurrence of health problems. HK government is now considering the labeling system of foreign countries, researching results will be handed out and reported to the Legislative Council.
17 Reference1. Pandora’s Picnic Basket ---The Potential and Hazards of Genetically Modified Foods2.3.4.