Friday, 18 December 2015

What is a GMO?

What is a GMO?


o    A genetically modified organism (GMO) is an organism (plant, animal, bacteria or virus) whose genetic makeup has been modified for a        particular purpose.
o    The organism does not occur naturally in this modified state.
o    For example, a plant can be modified to carry an additional gene found in another living thing (such as a bacteria) to protect itself against          insect pests.
o    Genes carry the information or the “recipe”, in the sequences and structures of DNA, which gives the organism its specific characteristics.
o    Genes can be added, removed or changed, using modern biotechnology methods.
o    Because Genes are common to life on earth, genes can be transferred from one organism to another and even between non-related species.
o    This manipulation can produce a product with new characteristics which may have advantages.

How are GMOs useful to us?

  •       GM (genetically modified) plants are already being cultivated as crops and consumed by humans and animals.
  •       Using genetic engineering, new improved varieties of crops can be produced more quickly than with conventional breeding methods.
  •        Crops can be modified to have valuable characteristics such as tolerance to drought and herbicides, resistance to disease and insects, as well      as improved nutritional content.

  • ·          Insulin as a treatment for diabetes was the first commercial healthcare product produced by GMOs.
  • ·          Bacteria were genetically modified to have a copy of the human insulin gene, and the protein is synthesized by the bacteria.
  • ·          GMOs can produce other medicines such asgrowth hormone.
  • ·          GMOs are used in current vaccines such as Hepatitis B (produced by yeast), and new vaccines are being developed using GMO                     technology.  
  • ·          In the future, plants may even be engineered to contain the vaccines so that we may be able to eat our vaccinations rather go for an               injection.
  • ·          In the future, GMOs may be used for gene therapy to correct certain genetic conditions. 

·          Textiles:

  • ·          GM cotton has been created to be resistant to insect attack to improve the yield of the crop.