POGIL Activity: Genetically Modified Foods
Name ____________________________ Date ________________ Period _____
Genetically modified foods have had foreign genes (genes from other plants, animals or
bacteria) inserted into their genetic codes th
rough a process known as genetic
Combining genes from different organisms is known as
, and the resulting organism is said to be
. GM products include
medicines and vaccines,
foods and food ingredients,
, and fibers.
The learner will be able to inv
estigate and analyze the
The learner will be able to
and contrast the benefits and potential risks
of genetically modified organisms.
the information provided in
hat types of plants can be genetical
modified using gene splicing?
2. What is gene splicing?
Name and briefly describe the
that is providing
genetic engineering example.
What is the name of the desired
bacterial gene, and what property of this gene is
interest to agricultural scientists?
. Why do you think genetic engineers would w
ant to create Bt transgenic corn and
Examine the graph
shown in Model 2. What genetically engineered crop is most
widely grown in the U.S.?
2. According to the graph, when were genetically modified food crops adopted by the
3. In the year 2007, what percentage of U.S. land acres wer
e used to grow Bt cotton?
. Make a prediction: If the graph were to show data from 2007
2011, would you
in the form of food crops to increase or decrease? Support your answer
with a brief explanation.
. GM foods are genetically en
gineered for a specific purpose or attribute (desired
characteristic). Use Table 1 to list four reasons why crops are genetically modified.
diagram showing a piece of bacterial
DNA that is resistant to cold
temperatures being spliced into a strawberry plant’s
DNA. Arrange the diagrams in
order by writing the letters
(last) in the spaces provided.
What would be an ad
vantage of splicing a naturally
gene into a strawberry plant?
Genetically Modified Food: The Benefits and the Risks
Genetically modified foods or GM foods for short, also go under many different
including transgenic food, genetically
food or biotech food.
So what are GM foods? Although different people and groups have different definitions,
GM foods can broadly define as foods that "are produced from crops whose genetic
has been altered through a process called recombinant DNA, or gene splicing,
to give the plant a desirable trait." The modification is usually done in the lab using
molecular techniques or genetic
although there are others who would argue
crops produced through conventional breeding can also be considered as GM food.
The first GM food crop, a tomato developed by Montsanto was submitted for approval to
the US FDA in August 1994 and came into market in the same year. As of September 9,
a total of 111 bioengineered
have completed the US FDA
"consultation procedures" on bioengineered foods. In addition to the tomato, the range
of products includes soybean, corn, cotton, potato, flax, canola, squash, papaya,
beet, rice, cantaloupe, and wheat. According to estimates by the
Grocery Manufacturers of America, "between 70 percent and 75 percent of all
processed foods available in U.S. grocery stores may contain ingredients from
genetically engineered plants. Breads
, cereal, frozen pizzas, hot dogs and soda are just
a few of them."
The benefits of GM foods:
Support for GM foods come from different sectors:
scientists, economists, and understandably from the agricultural and food industries.
GM foods can fight world
hunger. The world population has reached an all
high of over 6 and a half billion. Over 20% of these are suffering from poverty
and hunger. That GM foods can stop hunger is one of the noblest motivations
behind the development of GM foods. GM foods s
upposedly are easier to grow
and bring higher yields.
GM crops are better. GM crops are designed to be sturdier and more robust than
modified cousins. They are meant to be resistant to drought, diseases,
GM foods can fight
. In a world suffering from malnutrition, GM foods
can answer the need for more nutritious food. To cite an example, Swiss
research strove to create rice strains that contain large amounts of beta
and iron to counteract vitamin A and
. Malnutrition can refer to both
nutrition and wrong nutrition.
GM foods are good for the environment. GM foods translate into less use of
pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers, and therefore less pollution.
GM foods are safe. The FDA ensures
that foods made from these plants are
safe for humans and animals to eat, the USDA makes sure the plants are safe to
grow, and the EPA ensures that pesticides introduced into the plants are safe for
human and animal consumption and for the environment.
he issues against GM foods
GM foods are for
. According to its opponents, GM foods were created for
profit and nothing else.
GM foods are unregulated. The use of GM foods in the world is almost an
all activity. Going through th
e US FDA consultation
procedures is mainly voluntary.
There are also
of GM plants escaping field trials and finding their way to
the natural environment, thousands of miles away. In 2006, rice which contained
genes from the bacteria
(the notorious Bt) found its way to
European supermarkets, causing a big outcry. The bacterial gene rendered the
rice resistant to insects and the transgenic rice was a test plant that has not yet
been approved for human consumption.
GM foods can h
arm the environment. GM foods are affecting their environment
and some of these effects might actually be harmful. The effects are especially
evident in other living organisms within the vicinity. There are concerns, for
examples, how cross
th pollens from GM plants can affect non
GM foods can be detrimental to human health. The main concerns about adverse
effects of GM foods on health are the transfer of antibiotic resistance, toxicity and
allergenicity. With genetic modifications
come new compounds in the crops
which we virtually know nothing about.
: Are you for or a
gainst genetically modified food
? Discuss at least
facts from the article that support your opinion.