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 July 21, 2017
GMOs aren't really added directly to the meat, beef.  However, beef cattle may consume feed that comes from a genetically modified plant. All beef cattle begin their lives on a farm or ranch, grazing pasture or grass - none of which is considered a GMO. For many cows this will be their sole source of feed for their lifetime. Some cattle receive rations of grain, which may contain corn or soybeans, both of which have genetically modified hybrids and varieties. ... Read More
Posted on March 28, 2017
Thanks for the question, which I will address in two ways here.   1. What are three ways that organisms are modified by scientists? Here I will focus only on plants.   a. Agrobacterium: Agrobacterium tumefaciens (Agro) is a naturally occurring soil organism that causes a disease in plants called crown gall disease. In the late 1970s, Mary-Dell Chilton discovered that Agro actually transfers genes (DNA) from the Agro to the plant cell, where it becomes integrated into the plant... Read More
Posted on March 2, 2017
First of all, to clarify – hybridization is part of conventional breeding and conventional breeding uses hybridization to create new combinations of genes from parent varieties. For example, a disease-resistant wheat variety may be hybridized to a variety that makes flour better suited for making whole wheat bread. This is a common goal of most conventional breeding programs. It typically involves taking pollen from one parent and using it to fertilize another parent. The... Read More