QI heard that there is spider/animal DNA in tomatoes, is this true?

I heard that there is spider/animal DNA in tomatoes, is this true?

AExpert Answer

It is not true. There’s a lot of misinformation about GM crops on the Internet―including the idea that there are animal genes in tomatoes. While there have been laboratory experiments where a gene was introduced that was based on a gene from an animal (the one folks may be most familiar with is a flounder gene in tomatoes to see if it would make them more cold tolerant), none of our companies has commercial GM crops on the market that are genetically modified to contain animal genes. With regard to GM tomatoes, there are not currently any commercial products on the market.


It should be noted, though, that plant scientists who study the genomes of plants have estimated that about 60 percent of the genes present in plants have very similar copies in animals. This is not surprising, since all organisms use the same genetic toolbox. DNA from any source is made up of the same four basic nucleotide building blocks: adenine (A), cytosine (C), thymine (T) and guanine (G). So DNA that comes from a plant or a microbe has the same four nucleotides as the DNA in animals. When any DNA is ingested, it is broken down into these nucleotides, which are further broken down and absorbed or excreted. 


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Posted on December 7, 2017
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