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2009_Lecture6 - Plant of the week Raphanus sativus wild...

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Plant of the week: Raphanus sativus, wild radish Brassicaceae (“crucifer”) Broccoli, kale, cabbage, radish Mustard, horseradish, kohlrabi Rutabaga, canola oil, turnips, watercress… Four petals Pods Glucosinolates (cancer-prevention) Intro from Europe In addition to Agrobacterium: “Gene gun” Electroporation Microfibers Viruses Genetic engineering (pp. 369-372, Section 16.6) What traits? New types of starch, oil, etc…”designer foods” Antibody proteins for human medicine Herbicide resistance (e.g. Roundup Ready Corn) Bt toxin (insect resistance) Virus resistance N-fixation?? What risks? Human health : allergies [regulation=EPA, FDA] Ecological risks : non-target effects [regulation=USDA] e.g., Monarch butterfly on Bt corn Spread of genes into other species Hybridization with weeds! --> SUPERWEEDS Avena sativa and Avena fatua Brassica oleracea and Brassica nigra Raphanus sativus and Raphanus sativus (!) (USDA focuses mostly on protecting agriculture) 2 stories: 1.Golden rice Vitamin A deficiency -> blindness 350,000 children/yr. For 3 billion people in the world, rice is a staple food. (What is rice?) "The Golden Rice Tale" Can golden rice relieve global malnutrition? Ingo Potrykus (Independent Swiss scientist, funded by Rockefeller Foundation). Engineered a rice plant that synthesizes b-carotenoid (=vitamin A precursor). Genes from bacteria and daffodils. 2 stories: 2. Bt “StarLink” corn Bt corn contains a gene for a toxin made by the bacterium Bacillus thuringensis -> Resistance to corn borer caterpillars. USDA/EPA approved the corn for cattle feed, but NOT for human consumption (concerns about allergenicity) But Starlink corn showed up in tacos at Taco Bell in 2000. Probably contaminated > 50% of U.S. corn products. Are all GM crops out of our control?
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Genetic Engineering: • All GM crops are not the same. • We may not be able to predict all risks. • Biology, Ecology, and Evolutionary Biology do help us predict some risks. • As a society we choose how much risk we are willing to take on, for what benefit. I hope you will take seriously your position as trained biologists to help our society make informed, thoughtful decisions about GM crops. Now on to…
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2009_Lecture6 - Plant of the week Raphanus sativus wild...

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