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Can GMOs increase the amount of antibody resistance? If so, can it be stopped?

Submitted by: Andrew Henry


Expert response from Community Manager

Moderator for

Thursday, 28/06/2018 17:52

Bill Reeves, Regulatory Policy & Scientific Affairs Manager of Chemistry at Monsanto, addresses this complex topic of antibiotic resistance and GMOs in a couple similar questions he has answered.

“Antibiotic resistance genes are used in some GMOs to identify plants where the added DNA has been successfully incorporated. While this idea could understandably lead to questions -- Antibiotic resistance genes in my food? -- multiple safety reviews conducted by regulatory agencies around the world have confirmed that the presence of an antibiotic resistance gene does not pose any unique safety concerns.”

Read his full response here.

In his other response, he states,

“Before looking at how antibiotic resistance genes are used, it’s important to understand why there is a need to use them. DNA is transferred to dozens or even hundreds of plants early in product development and those plants need to be screened to identify which ones contain a functional copy of the transferred DNA. In order to accomplish this, a simple method for selecting the right plants is required.  One way to do this selection is to include DNA encoding an antibiotic resistance marker (ARM) along with the DNA responsible for the trait of interest.”

Lastly, Dan Goldstein, Senior Science Fellow and Lead of Medical Sciences and Outreach at Monsanto also discusses this topic in a response about antibiotic resistance, specifically in regard to glyphosate and medicine.

“Multiple antibiotic resistance in bacteria is sometimes due to a collection of antibiotic resistance genes grouped together on an inheritable ring of DNA called a plasmid.  When multiple antibiotic resistance genes travel together, the use of one antibiotic can select for resistance to multiple antibiotics. The gene affected by glyphosate is not carried on such a plasmid, so use of glyphosate does not select for multiple resistant organisms.”

Read his full response here.

We hope this answers your question, if you have any other questions about GMOs or biotechnology, please ask.