|What is Genetic Engineering?|
Genetic engineering is a new technology, involving the manipulation of genes. Scientists can transfer genes from one species to another, unrelated species. This is possible because of the universal ‘gene language’ – the genetic code. It is the same for all living beings, be it animal, plants or microorganisms. For
example, genes from a fish can be transferred to a tomato plant to render the tomato plant more resistant to frost. The engineered tomato plant is genetically forced to produce the fish chemical, because of this universal ‘gene language’. So it produces an ‘antifreeze’ chemical which the fish normally produces to survive in freezing cold water.
With genetic engineering it is possible to break down the species boundaries set up by millions of years of evolution. Never before was it possible to transfer genes from animals to plants or from bacteria to humans. By combining the genes of unrelated species, permanently altering their genetic codes, novel organisms are created that will pass the genetic changes onto their offspring through heredity.
Genetic engineering is a corporate technology, mainly applied by industrial agriculture.
In the year 2000 Just five multinationals dominated the whole biotech business in agriculture. 98% of all transgenic crops were grown in three countries: USA, Canada and Argentina, well over 70% of all GM-crops grown world wide are herbicide-resistant plants, and over 20 % are insect-resistant Bt-plants.
IFOAM GMO Brochure -The facts and the fiction, from bees and carrots 4 stories, your questions our answers
Go to the GMO vs. Organic page
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