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Genetically modified food

Genetic engineering is aimed at improving the food supply even before harvest or slaughter by improving yields, increasing disease resistance, and enhancing the nutritional qualities of various foods. Broadly speaking, genetic engineering refers to any deliberate alteration of an organisms DNA. Genetic manipulation has been practiced for thousands of years, ever since humans began selectively breeding plants and animals to create more nutritious, better tasting foods. In the past two decades, genetic engineering has become increasingly powerful as scientific advances have enabled the direct alteration of genetic material through the use of recombinant DNA. Genes have been cut and pasted from one species to another, yielding, for example, disease-resistant squash and rice, frost-resistant potatoes and strawberries, and tomatoes that ripenand therefore spoilmore slowly. However, genetic engineering is controversial, as some critics argue that its possible environmental impact has not been sufficiently studied. The modern science of genetics influences many aspects of daily life, from the food we eat to how we identify criminals or treat diseases. In agriculture, genetic advances enable scientists to alter a plant or animal to make it more useful. For instance, some food crops, such as oranges, potatoes, wheat, and rice, have been genetically altered to withstand insect pests, resulting in a higher crop yield. Tomatoes and apples have been modified so that they resist discoloration or bruising on their way to market, enhancing their appeal on supermarket shelves. The genetic makeup of cows has been modified to increase their milk production, and cattle raised for beef have been altered so that they grow faster.

Genetically Altered Aspen

Biologists found in 1995 that by turning on a gene called Leafy they could induce flowering in an aspen seedling, right, when it was only six months old and several centimeters high. An aspen tree usually does not flower until it is between 8 and 20 years old and 9 m (about 30 ft) tall. The aspen seedling on the left is also six months old, but was not altered.

.Identical Calves

Two of eight calves cloned from cells obtained from one adult cow stand in a field in Ishikawa, Japan. The calves were cloned by researchers at Kinki University in Nara, Japan. The results of the cloning experiment were published in 1998.

Genetic Engineering Genetic engineering enables scientists to produce clones of cells or organisms that contain the same genes. 1. Scientists use restriction enzymes to isolate a segment of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) that contains a gene of interestfor example, the gene regulating insulin production. 2. A plasmid removed from a bacterium and treated with the same restriction enzyme binds with the DNA fragment to form a hybrid plasma. 3. The hybrid plasmid is re-inserted back into the bacterium, where it replicates as part of the cells DNA. 4. A large number of identical daughter cells (clones) can be cultured and their gene products extracted for human use.
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Restriction Enzymes Produced by some kinds of bacteria, restriction enzymes recognize specific sequences of DNA and cut the double strand where the sequence occurs. Treating the DNA of two different organisms with the same restriction enzyme produces complementary fragments, or fragments with ends that fit together. These can be combined in a hybrid DNA molecule that, if part of a living cell, expresses traits of both parents.

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Correcting Genetic Diseases Gene therapy may someday be able to cure hereditary diseases, such as hemophilia and cystic fibrosis, which are caused by missing or defective genes. In one type of gene therapy, genetically engineered viruses are used to insert new, functioning genes into the cells of people who are unable to produce certain hormones or proteins necessary for the body to function normally.

Advantages of genetically modified food


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modern science of genetics influences many aspects of daily life, from the food we eat to how we identify criminals or treat diseases. In agriculture, genetic advances enable scientists to alter a plant or animal to make it more useful. For instance, some food crops, such as oranges, potatoes, wheat, and rice, have been genetically altered to withstand insect pests, resulting in a higher crop yield. Tomatoes and apples have been modified so that they resist discoloration or bruising on their way to market, enhancing their appeal on supermarket shelves. The genetic makeup of cows has been modified to increase their milk production, and cattle raised for beef have been altered so that they grow faster.

Disadvantage
The transgenic plants may interbreed with weeds, producing weeds with unwanted characteristics, such as resistance to herbicides. An example of such interbreeding has been demonstrated in experiments involving transgenic oilseed rape. Environmentalists also argue that, due to natural selection, insects quickly develop resistance to plants that have been engineered to incorporate biological pesticides.