GM Food – Plants - Library

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11 Δεκ 2012 (πριν από 4 χρόνια και 10 μήνες)

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GM Food


Plants

Beginners Level

Preparation Sheet


Discussion:

1.

Do you know what is GM food?

2.

Can you find GM food in the supermarket?

3.

How do you feel about GM food? Does it benefits our life or do harm?


Slide Show:

Slide 1: GM Food

Plants


Slide 2: What

is GM Food?



GM food stands for genetically modified food. It is also called genetically
engineered food, GE food. Every living organism is made up of organs, which
are made up of cells. Inside every cell there is a nucleus. It stores chromatin,
the h
ereditary materials, which are made up of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) or
RNA (ribonucleic acid). The traditional method of cross breeding can only be
used with the same type of plant. However, through genetic engineering, we can
select some specific genes

in an organism, copy them and transfer into another
unrelated organism. This method does not require the same kind of organisms.
The GM food has the characteristics of the selected genes.


Slide 3: Common GM Food



In 1998, 350 thousand square meter of
land on earth was used to plant
genetically modified food. About 75% of them were produced in USA. At the
end of 1999, 46 types of crops are allowed to be planted in USA including maize,
tomato, cotton, rapeseed and potato. They usually bear herbicide r
esistance and
insect resistance.


Slide 4: Why produce GM food?



By genetic engineering, we can create new crops with better qualities. For
example, scientists are now investigating a new type of rice, which is rich in
vitamin A for people in poorer coun
tries. Global food demand will probably
triple within the next fifty years. Development of GM food will increase the
yield and minimize the cost because it needs less pesticides and weed
-
killers.
Moreover, food is genetically modified to resist herbicides

and destructive
insects in order to increase yield. In some countries, crops are genetically
modified to cope with the adverse climatic conditions. For example, some
strawberries are modified to become anti
-
frost.

Slide 5: Herbicide Resistance



Herbicid
e is used to remove weed in farming. Although it maintains
nutrients in soil, it decreases the yield. It is because herbicide contains an
enzyme causing crops to stop growing or die. Therefore, scientists make use of
the agrobacterium system, a method of

transplanting the gene via an
agrobacterium vector to crops. Thus, the crops will resist the weeding action of
pesticides.

With this, we can minimize the use of herbicide (so that less
pollution is made) and control the growth of weeds more effectively.

The most
common type of plant using this method is soya bean.


Slide 6: Insect Resistance



The harm made by insects is always the biggest loss for farmers. Scientists
insert a protein of a soil bacterium, Bacillus thuringienus, into crops. After
destruc
tive insects eat those crops, they will die of a destroyed gut. The most
common type of plant using this method is maize.


Slide 7: Is GM Food Harmful?



Will it affect our health?


Will it affect the eco
-
system?


Will it have side effect?


Will it affect
personal religion and choice?


Slide 8: Health Problem?


1. Will we be ill?


At this moment, we cannot prove that GM food contains any chemicals
conferring illness. We only know that GM food is usually safe, as it has been
tested in the research laborator
y and it has to be proved safe by the government
before being release into the market.

2. Will we suffer from jumping genes?


There is recent research stating that genes used to modify crops can jump
the species barrier. Further researches must be made i
n order to prove for the
risk of horizontal gene transfer.

3. Will it cause allergic reactions?


As GM food contains proteins from another organism, there is a chance that
some people may be allergic to this new proteins.





Slide 9: Harmful to Eco
-
syste
m?


1.Will it affect the growth of other plants?

The large amount of weedkiller used on crops and the pesticides bred into
the plants themselves could cause immense damage to the environment. The
chemical inside the plants may kill other creatures feeding

on them.

2. Will living things lose their living environment?

As farmers think that they can use more herbicides because the crops are
herbicide
-
resistant, nearby non
-
crop plants may be affected resulting in animals
like birds losing their homes.

3. Will
it create strange species?


Gene modification technology is still developing. Genes may change
during the transferring process and toxic by
-
products may be produced
unknowingly. Living things will fall sick if they eat those crops. Eventually,
the toxin

will affect the whole eco
-
system.


Slide 10: Any Side
-
effects?


1.
Will genes jump the species barrier?


There is recent research stating that genes used to modify crops can jump
the species barrier and cause bacteria to mutate and raise serious health ri
sks.
However, there is no evidence showing any signs of ill
-
health as people are
eating GM products for years.

2. Can we control DNA mutation?


At this moment, we can only control the T
-
DNA, transferred
-
DNA. Further
investigations are undertaking to cont
rol the entire DNA.


Slide 11: Religion and Choice?


1. What will happen if vegetarians eat food which is genetically modified
with an animal gene?


Because of religion reasons, some people may not eat certain kind of food.
For example, the vegetarians do

not eat meat. They cannot use the food if it is
genetically modified with genes from an animal. As an example, DNA from a
type of fish found in the North Pole, Artic flounder, is inserted into the tomatoes
in order to make it anti
-
freeze. Will the vege
tarians eat this type of tomatoes?

2. Will it repel the choice of food?


As most of the GM foods are not labeled, we cannot distinguish them from
GM
-
free food. Our choice for food is deceived.


Slide 12: Solutions



Labeling the food is the best method to

identify GM food and GM
-
free food.
For example, a ‘Contains GM ingredients’ logo should be marked on the food
package so that consumers can be better informed before choosing their food.
We should, also, improve the genetic modification technology to ens
ure there is
no potential harm incurred in GM food. Food tests are necessary before food is
put on sale to test if it will cause any harm to human health. There must be an
effective system of testing the GM food.


Slide 13: End



Answers to the Exercise:

A.

1. genetically modified

2. DNA / genes

3. herbicides, insects

4. tomato, maize/ corn, soya bean, cabbage, etc.

5. Herbicide

B.

1. To improve the quality of food/ to improve the productivity to feed the
world/ to resist herbicide and harmful insects/ to co
pe with climatic
changes/ to minimize the cost, etc.

(any three)








(any relevant answers are accepted)


2. By labeling, improving the genetic modification technology, testing.