Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are organisms that have been injected with new properties into the gene code of foreign genes.
GMOs are divided into the following types:
– genetically modified microorganisms (GMM);
– genetically modified animals (GMV);
– genetically modified plants (GMR).
Each animal and plant has thousands of different signs. For each attribute corresponds to a specific gene, which represents a small segment of the molecule of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). If you remove the gene responsible for the appearance of a characteristic, then the very sign disappears, and if you enter a new gene, then an animal or plant will have a new quality.
Genetically modified organisms are created by methods of genetic engineering – a science that allows the introduction of a DNA fragment from any other organism into the genome of a microorganism, an animal or a plant in order to give it certain properties. For example, to deduce a breed of pigs with lean meat they built a spinach gene; to deduce a frost-resistant tomato in its genes, the gene of Arctic flounder was built; for the breeding of rice resistant to pests, the gene of the human liver was added to its genes, and scorpion genes were built in for the development of drought-resistant wheat varieties.
The important difference between genetically modified organisms and natural ones is that they are absolutely sterile. That is, the seeds of such plants do not germinate, and the animals do not produce offspring. The introduction of alien genes of some species or classes in others leads to genetic malfunction, blocking of reproduction processes. This is a protective mechanism for the conservation of species, the protest of nature against interference in its laws.
Currently, about 7 billion people live on Earth. According to the scientists’ forecasts, by 2050 the population can increase to 9-11 billion. One of the main problems that humanity has already faced is the lack of food. In this connection, the most productive biotechnologies are introduced into agriculture. One of them is genetic engineering, with the help of which genetically modified foods are created.
THE HISTORY OF GENETICALLY MODIFIED PRODUCTS
Based on the development of biological weapons in 1983 in the US, the world’s first genetically modified plant was grown. And ten years later, without proper verification of safety for humans, the world’s food market has the first genetically modified products. A global uncontrolled experiment on humanity began.
In China, in 1992, tobacco was grown, which was “not afraid” of harmful insects. In 1994, tomatoes appeared that did not deteriorate during transportation, and could also lie in unsuccessful conditions for 12 months at a temperature of 12 degrees. But as soon as they are placed in heat, they become ripe in a few hours. Then genetically modified products began to appear one after another. Genetically modified soybean drove out the ordinary, there was a genetically modified corn. Developed a kind of potato, resistant to the Colorado beetle.
By the end of 2013, 2833 permissions for the use of genetically modified products were issued in 36 countries regulating the use of GM crops, of which 1321 were for consumption in food, and 918 for feed for livestock. A total of 27 genetically modified crops (336 varieties) were allowed to enter the market, the main ones being soybean, maize, cotton, and potatoes.
METHODS OF OBTAINING GENETICALLY MODIFIED PRODUCTS
The task that must be solved when creating a transgenic plant is to obtain an organism with genes that are “not laid down by nature”. To do this, it is necessary to isolate the desired gene from the foreign DNA and integrate it into the DNA molecule of this plant. There are several fairly common methods for introducing foreign DNA into the plant genome.
Method of obtaining genetically modified products ?1
The bacterium Agrobacterium tumefaciens has the ability to incorporate its DNA into plants, after which its affected cells begin to divide very quickly, forming a tumor. First, a strain of this bacterium that does not cause tumors is obtained, but not deprived of the possibility of introducing its DNA into the cell. Next, the desired gene was cloned into Agrobacterium tumefaciens and then the plant was already infected with this bacterium. After that the infested cells of the plant acquired the necessary properties, and to grow from one of its cells an entire plant is now not a problem.
Method for obtaining genetically modified products ?2
According to this method, bombardment of plant cells with special very small tungsten bullets containing DNA is carried out. Such a bullet with some probability can correctly transfer the genetic material to the cell, as a result of which the plant receives new properties. And the bullet itself, in view of its microscopic dimensions, does not interfere with the normal development of the cell.
Method for obtaining genetically modified products ?3
Cells pretreated with special reagents that destroy a thick cell membrane are placed in a solution containing DNA and substances that promote its penetration into the cell. After that, a whole plant was grown from one cell.
All new technologies are the object of close attention of scientists around the world. This is due to the fact that the opinions of scientists on the safety of genetically modified products diverge.