assignment 2

assignment 2 - Recommendation of Bt Corn for Billy and...

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Recommendation of Bt Corn for Billy and Thelma The loss in profit corn farmers suffer from European corn borers causes a great deal of concern for farming families who want to stay in the business. We were given the task of investigating this major issue for farmers today: should they plant Bt corn to combat European corn borers? This question begs research in different areas. Is Bt corn safe for human consumption? What impacts does Bt corn have on the environment? Bt corn is genetically engineered corn, incorporating a gene from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis. Genetically engineered plants are also called transgenic plants. Transgenic plants are plants that contain genetic information of other organisms. The bacterium B. thuringiensis produces insecticidal proteins that form crystals in the bacterial spores. These proteins are toxic to insects such as the European corn borer. When these crystals are ingested by certain insects, they are activated by enzymes in the insect gut and bind to specific receptors in the intestinal tract. This causes the intestinal walls of the insect to break down, and the insect is ultimately killed. To make Bt corn, the gene of interest must be isolated. In this case, the gene of interest is the crystal toxin gene from the organism B. thuringiensis. This gene is inserted into a bacterium such as Escherichia coli using a plasmid vector. A plasmid is a circular DNA molecule that has the ability to replicate independently of the bacterial chromosome. The bacterium with the foreign DNA in it replicates normally, and its progeny are clones of the original plasmid-
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containing bacterium. The bacteria are then tested to see if they contain the plasmid through growing them on a selective medium that will kill the bacteria without the plasmid. The plasmids
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This note was uploaded on 04/20/2008 for the course BSCI 223 taught by Professor Stein during the Fall '08 term at Maryland.

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assignment 2 - Recommendation of Bt Corn for Billy and...

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