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Posted On: Tuesday, 4/22/2014 11:11 am
A: In plant biotechnology, marker genes, also frequently called “selectable markers,” are used to identify plants in which a transgenic trait has been successfully inserted. A good example of a selectable marker is herbicide resistance. In this case, the breeder sprays an herbicide on the plants of interest. Those that were not successfully transformed will be affected by the herbicide and discarded. Some marker genes can be both a marker gene and a commercial transgenic trait. In... Continue Reading
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Posted On: Wednesday, 7/31/2013 4:39 pm
A: As a younger scientist studying plant genetics, I get your question a lot when talking to my friends. I’m often surprised that people seem unaware of the huge amount of government oversight there is on the GMO industry, and that companies are required to reveal all of their data for public review as part of the deregulation process. In other words, it is illegal to sell (or even transport) any genetically modified organism without demonstrating a huge amount of safety information to the... Continue Reading
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Posted On: Wednesday, 4/02/2014 2:52 pm
A: The claim is not substantiated in the Kruger et al. 2014 paper, and no relationship is shown between glyphosate in urine and health. The design, conduct, analysis and conclusions of the research are all so flawed that one wonders how the paper was accepted (in 20 days) even in a journal with a low impact factor (0.6). This is just another in a growing series of flawed papers designed to incite fear. The reasoning that underlies this conclusion is briefly explained in the... Continue Reading
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Posted On: Tuesday, 12/31/2013 11:14 pm
A: To answer the first question, we must consider the definition of “xenobiotic compounds.” According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a xenobiotic is “a chemical compound (such as a drug, pesticide, or carcinogen) that is foreign to a living organism.” By this definition, xenobiotics that are carcinogens cause cancer, for example. So, yes, chronic contact to some xenobiotic compounds can carry health risks. In answer to your second question: neither non-GM plants nor GM plants contain... Continue Reading
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Posted On: Friday, 8/09/2013 2:53 am
A: Well, this is a really good question and does make one wonder. The short answer is: "To meet the USDA organic regulations, farmers and processors must show they aren’t using GMOs and that they are protecting their products from contact with prohibited substances from farm to table." So while it is pretty easy to find out that GMOs are not allowed to be used in certified "organic" production systems, it is much harder to get information about why their use is prohibited. I am a farmer, the... Continue Reading