GENETIC MODIFICATION FOR FOOD ABSTRACT: Genetic modification for food is the science that involves modification of genetic materials of plants or animals. Initially, it was done by farmers as old agricultural practice in the past, but recently it has been improved by technology. Today the food which we consume are either genetically modified (GM) whole food, or either they contain ingredients which are derived from genetic modification technology. Despite the benefits of genetic modification, it is surrounded by controversy. Criticis of GM technology include many groups like consumer and health groups, religious rights groups, food advocacy groups().
Genetic modification (GM) has been advocated as alternative to nutrients inventions such as supplementation, dietary diversification. While the GM biofortified food crop looks like promising the decision of policy makers that require the socio-economic impacts (1). Benefits of GM includes the improvement of fruit and vegetables, improved nutritional quality, improved fats and improved quality of livestock, milk and meat. The potential risks as well as the benefits to man and technology are reviewed, it has been suggested for minimizing the potential risks and maximizing the benefits. Genetic modification food business should increase public awareness in this technology to enhance worldwide acceptability of GM foods. This can be possible only through openness, research and education (2). INTRODUCTION: Biotech crops has been rising since their commercialization in 1996.
United States, Argentina, India, China, Brazil account for almost 90% of global GM production with more than 50% being produced in United States alone. The principal biotech crop, soybean occupying 51% of the global biotech area in 2007, followed by maize (31%), cotton (13%) and canola (5%). The GM crops are classified in generations according to the trait being introduced. The first generation of GM crops refers to seeds that are biotechnologically increased in production. In other words, these are similar for consumer either in taste, nutritional value or appearance. The seeds of this generation have resistance mechanisms towards pests, diseases, viruses. Examples for this type of generations are soybean, insect-resistance maize, insect-resistant potato. These crops are planted on millions of farmland hectares.
The second generation of GM plants crops consists of new traits with direct value to consumers. This crop has increased levels of proteins, fats, modified carbohydrates, increased level of micro nutrition or any other phytochemicals. Some examples for this second generation of GM plants are rice with beta-carotene with high zinc and iron levels, higher supplements of carotenoids, phenolics in tomato and maze with increased vitamin c levels. The third generation of GM are emerging from research pipeline. The genetic modification in third generation plants are designed with greater ability in order to with stand the droughts, high temperature or from saline soils.
The other food which is modified in such a way that it provides additional health benefits or renewable raw materials. Pharma-plants come into third generation which are used as biological production for manufacturing high grade pharmaceutical ingredients (3). GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROPS: These are the type of crops who’s DNA has been modified by using genetic engineering methods. In most cases the aim is to produce new trait to plant that doesn’t occur naturally.
These may improve the resistance to certain pests or improving nutrients profile for food crops. But for non-food crops include production for biofuels, industrial useful goods and for pharmaceutical agents. There is a scientific agreement that the food which is available from GM crops has no greater risk to human health than natural food and has to be tested on basis case before introduction. However, opponents have objected that GM crops is safe and need to address the world that food are readily accessible to poor farmers. GENE TRANSFER IN TRADITIONAL AGRICULTURE Genetic engineering technique is applied on crops for addition or removing of genes to genetically modify them. There are different ways for this technique including gene guns, electroporation, agrobacterium, microinjection. Crispr and Talen are much more convenient techniques.
Gene guns are know as biolistics, which are allowed to shoot directly with high energy particles which target the genes of plant cells. The DNA is bounded to tiny particles of tungsten which are shot into plant cells under high pressure which penetrates into both the cell wall and membranes. This allows the DNA to separate and the metal is moved inside the nucleus. This method has been applied successfully to monocots like wheat or maize. The major disadvantage of this procedure is that it may causes serious damage to cellular tissue. Agrobacterium infects a plant and transfers T-DNA to plant genome.
In genetical engineering the bacterial T-DNA is removed from the desired foreign gene. Agrobacterium infection is less successful in crops like wheat and maize. Electroporation is used when the plant tissue does not contain cell walls. Microinjection is used to directly inject foreign DNA into cells. TYPES OF MODIFICATIONS Transgenic: Transgenic plants have genes inserted into them which are derived from another species. The inserted genes can come from species within the same kingdom or between kingdoms. The inserted DNA has to be modified slightly in order to express efficiently into host organism. Transgenic plants have been modified to increase photosynthesis currently about 2% at most plants.
Transgenic maize contains genes from bacteria Bacillus Thuringiensis. Cisgenic: Cisgenic plants are made using genes found within the same species or closely related one such that conventional plant breeding can occur. Cisgenic modification is useful for plants that are difficult to cross bread such as potatoes. The plants in cisgenic category should not require same scrutiny as transgenics.
Intragenic: The plants can be modified by using knockout to alter genetic makeup of plant without including genes from another plants. This type of GMO has been made possible through the development of biotechnological methods which allow researchers to cut the DNA at certain position with the genome. Potatoes are the example for this type of modification which allows them to stored longer when the potatoes are fried.