Genetically modifying animals and plants is a growing concern — with some people totally against the idea. And there are now a variety of biotech tools that make defining GMOs a bit less clear-cut for the general public. Taking a gene from a sea animal and putting into a pig sounds extremely unnatural, but does simply removing a gene sound as bad? Or what if farmers used traditional breeding techniques to get to a particular genetic end goal that was discovered by less “natural” genetic experimentation?
- If scientists merely remove genes, not add any new genes, does that qualify as a genetically modified organism? Using CRISPR/Cas9 techniques, a researcher created a button mushroom that doesn’t brown after it’s cut — by removing some genetic material to turn off an enzyme — and the USDA says that’s not a GMO mushroom. (However, this decision may change.) [url]
- There are at least a couple engineered genetic “kill switches” for genetically modified microbes. Have researchers not seen/read Jurassic Park? Or Blade Runner? [url]
- Off-patent generic GMO soy beans are starting to enter the market since it’s been about 20 years since Monsanto developed them. Out of about 84 million acres of soybeans planted in the US, only a couple thousand or so acres will be seeded with generic Roundup Ready knockoffs. Monsanto has a Roundup Ready 2 variant that’s still under patent protection (as well as another version still pending approval), so don’t worry about not being able to buy the authentic stuff. [url]
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