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. 

 

You may want to read more detailed articles that provide more in-depth information related to your question:
 

Posted on December 7, 2017
The term “GMO” typically refers to crops or animals that, through genetic engineering, have had a gene (or a few genes) from a different species inserted into their genome. This is by design to improve a crop or animal with genetic engineering. In fact, me and my colleagues recently published a paper on this very topic that addresses this very topic and gives more details on the plant selection practices used for GE crops.   However, you pick up on something very... Read More
Answer:
Posted on December 7, 2017
Nearly all foods today have been genetically modified or altered in some way over thousands of years through selective breeding. However, there are only 10 commercially available GMO crops in the U.S: soybeans, corn (field and sweet), canola, cotton, alfalfa, sugar beets, summer squash, papaya, potatoes and apples.   Below is a table outlining what year the nine crops became commercially available:   Squash 1995 Cotton 1996... Read More
Posted on November 17, 2017
When people refer to Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), they are referring to precision plant breeding using genetic engineering. It allows plant breeders to take a desirable trait (like resistance to drought, insects, weeds, and disease) from one plant or organism and transfer it to the plant they want to improve, as well as make a change to an existing trait in a plant they are developing. You may have also heard of agricultural biotechnology or biotech seeds.... Read More
Answer: