GMO Web Activity


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GENETIC MODIFICATION OF ORGANISMS Traditional plant breeding is one of the oldest accomplishments of humankind. It began more than 10,000 years ago when plants were first domesticated. Plants were grown, and those that produced the best quality food were selected, and their seed was saved and used to plant the following year. In this way, the quality of the food plants improved with each season. This accomplishment marked the end of a nomadic way of life and the beginning of cooperative society. Many people agree that the "civilized" world began with the advent of agriculture. At first, plant breeding was an art; but ever since Gregor Mendel and an understanding of the basics of genetics, it has now become a science. More efficient methods have been developed for sowing seeds and growing plants. Criteria were established for selecting plants with favorable characteristics such as resistance to disease and insects, increased nutritional quality, and increased adaptability to machine harvesting methods. Seeds from these plants were used for the next crop – thus leading to the varieties of crop plants we have today. Plant breeders have selected plants with the genes for the characteristics that they want, thus changing the plant genotypes over time. Another way to improve plant genotypes in order to produce plants with more desirable qualities is through genetic engineering using recombinant DNA technologies . DNA fragments containing genes for desirable traits are isolated from selected plants. These fragments are incorporated into bacteria; the bacteria in turn produce large amounts of the DNA. The DNA is then removed from the bacteria and directly transferred into plant cells. In this way, genes for
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This note was uploaded on 01/30/2010 for the course NATS 104 taught by Professor Lewis during the Winter '08 term at Arizona.

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